Over a dozen people still missing after severe Virginia flood

More than a dozen people are unaccounted for after a torrential downpour Tuesday night caused flash flooding in a rural Virginia county.

A series of storms rolled through Buchanan County in the southwestern part of the state, dropping 6 inches of rain in just a few hours and washing away more than 100 homes, according to CNN.

The network reported that the area’s mountainous terrain allowed large amounts of rainfall to collect quickly and produce runoff.

The Buchanan County sheriff’s office said Wednesday evening that 44 people had been reported missing.

By early Thursday, authorities said they had made contact with 27 of those people, leaving 17 who have yet to be heard from. 

The sheriff’s office reported that there are no confirmed fatalities at this time. 

Sheriff’s deputies and members of Virginia’s Department of Emergency Management are focusing efforts on Big Branch Road in the Patterson area since the route was previously impassable due to remnants from the storm.

Bill Crimes with the Department of Emergency Management told CNN that roads were blocked by landslides and approaches to bridges were washed out in the storm, making search efforts more difficult.

“Fortunately, the floodwaters are receding and the county is able to work with the Virginia Department of Transportation crews with removing debris and mud from the roadways to get them re-opened, assessing damage to residences, etc.,” the sheriff’s office said Thursday in a statement.

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