Those who have seen most of the flooded areas
believe Mullens was the eye of the storm. Indeed two weeks after the flood, the
first sight of Mullens was startling. As soon as you turned off Route 16 and
crossed the railroad tracks, the dried mud and broken-out store windows and
store fronts appeared.
The street in front of the town hall was a sea
of dusty mud, making it hard to even park a car. Red Cross emblems were pasted
at the hall as a sign of relief headquarters. At the other end of the street,
Andrew McKinney proclaimed his never-die attitude:
believe Mullens was hit so hard because so many rivers and streams feed into
Slab Fork and the Guyandotte River before they converge in the center of Mullens.
Slab Fork joins the Guyandotte River
business owners in Mullens, interviewed while they were cleaning out the mud,
blamed timbering for some of the damage. Listen to Bill Wade:
Mullens had as much as 10 inches of rain on July 8. But there is a surprising
amount of timbering and mining along the rivers and creeks feeding down to
Mullens from Sophia, Slab Fork and Twin Falls. (See pages in
Maben, Hotchkiss and
As you drive
along Stonecoal Creek, northeast of Rhodell, a large preparation plant and
reclaimed slag pile appear. There is a dam for a slurry impoundment on the
hillside. It didn't erode badly during the storm, but the bank alongside
(towards left in photo below) did wash out. The material was carried down into a
sediment pond, which overflowed into the creek.
preparation plant and deep mine along Stonecoal Creek
from Sophia, there is timbering, a deep mine and a small surface mine close to
Route 16 between Stotesbury and Helen. A modest amount of washout from the
timber job went from the staging area into the creek. There was also a constant
stream of water flowing out of the mountain on the edge of the staging area.
That water went into the creek.
community of Helen, a new surface mine was visible on the hilltop.
For lots more
photos of the flood in Mullens and recovery efforts,
To read more
about how Mullens is recovering from the flood, read the story in the
Huntington Herald Dispatch, Sunday, Aug. 26.