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September 01, 2020 10:27am
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Storms, flooding in West Virginia kill 1, damage 200-year-old graveyard

Storms and flooding have led to at least one death, as well as damage to about 200 tombstones in areas along the Ohio River in West Virginia.

Storms and flooding in West Virginia have caused at least one death and washed out about 200 tombstones at a cemetery where graves date back to the early 1800’s, officials said.

The death was reported Thursday evening in Wood County, which borders the Ohio River, the Wood County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on social media. A vehicle got stuck in high water and sank with a male trapped inside, the statement said. Divers found the vehicle and recovered the body, but authorities didn’t immediately release any names.


The death occurred on the same day that Gov. Jim Justice issued a state of emergency for Wood, Ohio and five other counties due to flooding following severe thunderstorms that also caused downed trees, power outages, road blockages and other damage including a land slide at the Wheeling Mt. Zion cemetery.

The slide at the Ohio County cemetery, where thousands of people are buried including 400 veterans, toppled trees and gravestones, news outlets reported.

Volunteers that care for the cemetery said the topsoil and monuments were damaged, but the caskets were not.

"I think the graves are OK, I think the mud just came down and slid over the top of the grass, said Charles Yocke, president of the Wheeling Mt. Zion Cemetery Corporation.

He said the organization is seeking help to recover from the disaster.

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