CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A landslide near a West Virginia airport has forced residents in about 25 Charleston homes to evacuate.
Media outlets report that the landslide began Sunday near the end of the main runway at Yeager Airport but reached a critical point mid-day Thursday.
According to Yahoo News, up to 2 inches of rain was possible this weekend on already saturated ground and has issued a flood watch in the area through Saturday evening.
“On top of this wet soil and everything else, it’s a big concern for us,” said C.W. Sigman, Kanawha County’s emergency services deputy director.
The landslide broke loose, taking out power lines, trees, an unoccupied home, as well as a church. It also caused a nearby creek to rise.
Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy told MetroNews he watched as the landslide happened.
“I’ve personally watched this for now at least 30 minutes and the slippage across the whole face of the fill has not stopped for 30 minutes,” Hardy said.
“It’s like a slow motion slippage that keeps on going.”
The West Virginia National Guard urged area residents to evacuate and the West Virginia Division of Highways closed a portion of Keystone Drive.
UPI writes: “The manmade 270-foot-tall hill was constructed about eight years ago with about 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt for an airport emergency runway area. It’s one of the largest of its kind in the world. Airport officials said the main runway is not at risk for damage.”