My heart goes out to the people in West Virginia who are being washed away by terrible floods in that state. According to Reuters, at least 23 people are dead, including two children.
"The damage is widespread and devastating," Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said at a news conference. "Our biggest challenge continues to be high waters."
A spokeswoman for the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management put the death toll at 23. The hardest-hit area was Greenbrier County in the southeast of the state, with 15 deaths, she said.
Though rivers were expected to crest by Friday night and the rescue and recovery effort is likely to last through the weekend, said Tim Rock, spokesman for the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
"There have been towns that have been completely surrounded by water," Rock said. "People say there is 8 to 9 feet of water in their house.
"It's at least into the hundreds forced to get emergency shelter," he said. "Even if you can get back into your home, who knows what kind of shape it's in."
West Virginia received one-quarter of its annual rainfall in a single day, National Weather Service meteorologist Frank Pereira said. Rains eased on Friday.
My visit to McDowell County in 2011 remains one of the most memorable visits to another state in my life. I wish everyone there safety and a dry landing.
Also, wishes for safety to John Cole at Balloon Juice, who's watching his state drown right now.