|WV Hills, A stop on the way to visit my mother last Thanksgiving|
One of West Virginia's nicknames is The Mountain State. It was also called Little Switzerland by the early settlers. This was because almost the entire state is filled with hills and mountains. In the eastern part of the state are the long ridges and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains and in the western part of the state are hills and valleys (hollows/hollers) from erosional relief on the Appalachian Plateau. What that means is that you are usually on top of a hill or in a narrow valley. There is not much in between.
An example of this was when they were going to build a new high school in my county, there was only one site that had enough flat land to build the school. Like I said, it's called the Mountain State for a reason.
So when there is rain, there is no where for it to go except to be channeled between the hills. And when there is a lot of rain in a short amount of time, it is more than the little streams and valleys can handle so there is a flash flood.
|The football field of my high school. Notice the goal posts.|
Flash flooding is what has been happening recently over much of West Virginia as most little streams and rivers have been overwhelmed by the large amount of rain there was over a short amount of time. While some areas were hit worse than others, most of the state and its ubiquitous small streams flooded. That's why 44/55 counties were declared disaster areas.
There is my very simplistic view of what's been going on, but I hope it makes sense and clears up a little of the confusion that is not being helped by the media.
It's raining in my hometown right now. I hope there is not more flooding to come.