Flood Story Flood Story
By Doug Hurst, August 14, 2001
Outdoor travelers are at the mercy of the weather. It is often noted that nothing makes one feel smaller than nature’s awesome power. I have known this for many years. On the morning of July 8th at our home on Laurel Creek in Beckwith, WV, (Fayette County) my wife, two children, mother-in-law, and myself learned a lot more about nature’s power and feeling small.
I remember reading in an ecology textbook in 1988 that any stream of water over three meters wide is technically a river. Judging from the normal appearance of Laurel Creek, a quaint trout stream in the New River Gorge, I was surprised to be informed that I was living on a river. Over the years I forgot that fact. On July 8th, 2001, I was reminded. On that day, my family and I witnessed a river in our back yard.
At 7:00 a.m. we awoke to a rainy Sunday morning. Ah, a day of rest and reading. I knew it had been raining since about 4:00 a.m.. The creek looked just a little high; not out of its banks, not threatening. Soon we noticed how fast it was rising. A rising that was new, different. Coupled with the sudden realization that this loud, heavy, unceasing rain meant business we found ourselves facing the possibility of a flood. Yet even then, we had no idea what the next 5 hours was to bring.