Inescapably, more flash floods are sure to hit West Virginia valleys where people live on the best available land. Floods have always been a part of life in Appalachia, and climate change is only making that phenomenon worse.
In the wake of the terrible June floods, long-term recovery committees have been formed in Kanawha, Clay, Greenbrier, Summers and Nicholas counties. Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, sees opportunity here to heal and rebuild, both physically and economically, in places that have been hungry for constructive work for a long time.
On the front of this section, Bill Currey, longtime leader of the 88-mile Coal River Walhonde Water Trail, urges West Virginians to look with new eyes at their streams and rivers. The rain will come. There will be floods. While rebuilding, how can West Virginians reorient their towns so that people and property are safer next time, and communities are more inviting and enjoyable in the meantime?
It’s a smart approach. West Virginians need to be on better footing to weather the next storm.