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Fox News Weather Center

20 dead after historic flooding slams West Virginia

At least 20 people have died in West Virginia as a result of extreme flooding that inundated portions of the state on Thursday.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced that the death toll had risen to 14 during an earlier news conference on Friday, but the Associated Press, citing local sheriffs and rescue workers, reported that there were several other fatalities not yet confirmed by the state.

Extensive damage was reported and Tomblin declared a state of emergency for 44 counties, including all but the northern and eastern panhandles. He also authorized the deployment of up to 150 members of the state's National Guard.

"The amount of rain that recently fell on parts of West Virginia and southern Virginia exceeded a once-in-a-century event for the specific area and resulted in catastrophic flooding in some communities," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

"Radar estimates indicated 6 to 10 inches of rain fell on some locations in 24 hours," Sosnowski said.

FEMA announced in a press release that it is deploying an Incident Management Assistance Team to help provide support and guidance on the Federal Disaster Declaration Process.

Greenbrier County Sheriff Jan Cahill described "complete chaos" and told the AP that roads were destroyed, bridges had washed out and homes had been knocked off foundations.

Several rivers, including the Meadow River at Hines and the Greenbrier River at Hilldale remained above major flood stage on Friday afternoon. Record flooding occurred along the Elk River.

Fifty homes were destroyed along Jordan Creek in the Clendenin area and multiple water rescues were performed in Richwood.

In White Sulphur Springs, the raging floodwaters submerged part of the historic Greenbrier resort. Power was knocked out throughout the resort and cleanup efforts were underway.

"It's like nothing I've seen," said Jim Justice, owner and CEO of the Greenbrier.

"The flooding we experienced Thursday and into today is among the worst in a century for some parts of the state," Tomblin said. "Our team in the Emergency Operations Center worked through the night and continues to coordinate efforts with local officials today."

High pressure will help to bring drying conditions to West Virginia this weekend, AccuWeather Meteorologist Jordan Root said.

"This should allow water levels on area rivers to continue to drop and provide great cleanup weather," Root said. "A spotty afternoon thunderstorm will be possible on Saturday in the eastern part of the state, but most areas will likely remain dry."

Mark Bowes, of White Sulphur Springs W. Va., makes his way to the road as he cleans up from severe flooding in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., Friday, June 24, 2016. A deluge of 9 inches of rain on parts of West Virginia destroyed or damaged more than 100 homes and knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)