At least 20 dead in historic US floods
At least 20 people have died in floods stemming from heavy rainfall in the US state of West Virginia.
The updated death toll was confirmed to CNN on Friday by a spokesman for state disaster services. Several other people remain missing.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency and said it could be the worst flooding in the state in 100 years.
A low pressure system has drenched the area since Thursday, dropping as much as 25 centimetres of rain, leading to massive flooding, mudslides and landslides.
Streets and railway tracks were destroyed and bridges washed away in the mountainous state.
Most flood warnings were lifted by Friday evening, and the clean-up was under way with help from the National Guard.
Several hundred people were reportedly stranded at a shopping area because a bridge to the location had been washed away.
Some were able to leave the area after rescuers dug an alternative way out on a hillside, news reports said.
Television images portrayed raging rivers of water moving through towns. One video showed a burning house that had been ripped from its foundation being carried away by high water.
In the town of Ravenswood a 4-year-old boy was dragged into the water before the eyes of his grandfather, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. The man tried to pull the boy to safety but was unsuccessful. The youngster’s body was found on Friday.