Saturday, March 14, 2015

No Major Movement at Yeager Airport (KCRW) Slip Friday Night, Saturday Morning

UPDATE 3/14/15 @ 7:40 a.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Emergency crews say there has been no new damage to homes in the Keystone Drive area Friday night into Saturday morning, following the landslide at Yeager Airport.

Several residents who live along Keystone Drive, from Barlow Drive to Greenbrier Street, evacuated their homes for fear of flooding. Water has gotten in to some of those homes.

One home and Keystone Apostolic Church were destroyed by the slide.

Rain began falling Friday afternoon and continued through Saturday morning, which worried crews that they would see more problems with the landslide. They continued to hear popping sounds, and noticed some new cracks in the landslide, but didn’t see much movement early Saturday morning.

Water rescue teams spent the night near Keystone Drive to assess the situation. Excavators and bulldozers were brought in to clear Two Mile Creek of debris from the slide, and emergency management officials say that seems to have prevented more flooding.

Flights into and out of Yeager Airport are continuing on a normal schedule. Airport officials are stressing that the airport is safe.

UPDATE 3/13/15 @ 8 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Engineers and emergency crews remain in place Friday night as fears of a worsening landslide continue below Yeager Airport.

Meanwhile, many residents who live along Keystone Drive from Barlow Drive to Greenbrier Street have evacuated their homes. A few have stayed behind, mainly those who live above the flood plain.

Crews reported hearing more cracking and popping from the landslide late Friday afternoon, as well as seeing new cracks developing in the affected area. As of Friday morning, the slip had destroyed at least one-third of the engineered fill at the end of runway 5.

Keystone Apostolic Church and at least one home have been destroyed by the slide.

Water rescue teams plan to be in the area all night Friday and into Saturday morning to assess the situation.

Crews are working with excavators and bulldozers to clear Two Mile Creek of debris from the slide.

On Friday morning, a couple of private contractors worked to create a new channel through the debris so the water that had backed up and flooded homes could be released into the rest of Two Mile Creek.

The channel worked, lowering the water level in the flooded area by a few feet.

During work on the channel, officials evacuated the area behind the landslide as a precaution. There were initial concerns the water would rush out quickly and possibly flood the nearby homes.

The next threat, though, comes with the moderate rain expected Friday night into part of Saturday.

Flights into and out of Yeager Airport continue on a normal schedule. Airport officials say the runway itself is unaffected by the slip, and the FAA deemed the airport to be fully operational. Aircraft do not land or takeoff on the engineered fill area impacted.

UPDATE 3/13/15 @ 7:45 a.m. 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Water is starting to get into the homes directly below the slip at Yeager Airport in Charleston.

The slip has destroyed at least one-third of the engineered fill at the end of runway 5.

County officials tell WSAZ, as of Friday morning, emergency crews still hear popping and cracking sounds coming from the hillside, so they expect more slips throughout the day.

The big concern is still about heavy rain expected this weekend.

An excavator was brought in late Thursday night to clear out Two Mile Creek, that was blocked off with mud and rocks from the slip. About 12:30 a.m., crews had finished widening the creek.

However, with more issues Friday morning, the crews are expected to spend most of the morning clearing out more of the creek before the rain moves in.

As a precaution, people who live in the area are being asked to leave. The voluntary evacuation is for people who live along Keystone Drive from Barlow Drive to Greenbrier Street.

As of Thursday night, about 30 people had left the area. A few more left Friday morning once the water started rising even more.

Several other families, who don't live directly below, have also decided to leave their homes because they don't have utilities and they don't know when they will come back on.

The American Red Cross is stationed at the command center on Greenbrier Street to help families impacted by the slip.

Residents who need housing assistance should call Kim Lewis with Yeager Airport at 304-550-8131. The airport has already put several people in hotels until the all clear is given.

The Kanawha-Animal Shelter has already moved its resources, along with the animals, to Camp Virgil Tate due to the risk of flooding.

Emergency officials plan to meet with other businesses, including FedEx, Friday morning to alert them of the potential flooding. They want to make sure everyone has a plan as a precaution.

County leaders will also meet with the National Weather Service to determine the amount of rain expected and when it will be in the area.

So far, at least one home and church have been destroyed by the slip. No one has been hurt.

Meanwhile, flight operations continue to be unaffected.

Airport officials say the runway itself is unaffected by the slip and flights continue to operate as normal. Aircraft do not land or takeoff on the fill area impacted.

The area impacted contains what's called EMAS, a high energy absorbing material. It can stop a plane that overshoots a runway-- in it's tracks. The FAA has been notified some of the EMAS is damaged, but the airport is still within safety guidelines to continue operations.

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