During the night of August 4-5, 1943, a violent thunderstorm of unusual intensity occurred in parts of Braxton, Calhoun, Gilmer, Ritchie, and Wirth Counties in the Little Kanawha River Basin in central West Virginia. Precipitation amounted to as much as 15 inches in 2 hours in some sections. As a result, many small streams and a reach of the Little Kanawha River in the vicinity of Burnsville and Gilmer reached the highest stages known. Computations based on special surveys made at suitable sites on representative small streams in the areas of intense flooding indicate that peak discharges closely approach 50 percent of the Jarvis scale.
Twenty-three lives were lost on the small tributaries as numerous homes were swept away by the flood, which developed with incredible rapidity during the early morning hours. Damage estimated at $1,300,000 resulted to farm buildings, crops, land, livestock, railroads, highways, and gas- and oil-producing facilities. Considerable permanent land damage resulted from erosion and deposition of sand and gravel.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Flood of August 4-5, 1943, in central West Virginia, with a summary of flood stages and discharges in West Virginia