West Virginia flooding brought death, destruction from out of nowhere

Historic flood kills 23

The death toll after destructive West Virginia flooding has climbed to 23 and was expected to increase.

Deadly floods trigger state of emergency in West Virginia counties

West Virginia's governor has called in hundreds of National Guardsmen to help with search and rescue efforts.

The flooding destroyed several homes, some torn from foundations and carried away by swollen rivers and lakes.

The trouble began on Thursday from heavy rains. On Friday, the body of a 4-year-old boy was recovered after he was swept away in floodwaters just outside his home.

CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave reports from the hard-hit community of White Sulphur Springs that the home of one man, Chad Agner, was completely gone, swept away by raging floodwaters Thursday night that tore through West Virginia seemingly out of nowhere.

Pieces of the home next door ended up blocks away on the city's ballfield.

"I figured there would be something left, something standing, but there's nothing," Agner said.

Jimmy Scott gets a hug from Anna May Watson, left, as they clean up from severe flooding in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, June 24, 2016.
Jimmy Scott gets a hug from Anna May Watson, left, as they clean up from severe flooding in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, June 24, 2016. AP Photo/Steve Helber

The flood ripped apart the house of Vicky Whitt's neighbors and sent it crashing into hers.

"Thank God it's over," Whitt said. "Not over, but we got out, so it's all that matters."

Across the state, at least 100 homes have been seriously damaged or destroyed.

It appears the river took over a mobile home park, and one house was resting partially in the street next to overturned cars.

Roads have been ripped apart, and tens of thousands were without power.

In just one neighborhood in the small community of White Sulphur Springs, more than a dozen homes were destroyed.

City police and paramedics spent Friday going door to door looking for survivors or worse.

"Everyone knew it was gonna rain, but no one knew it was gonna be as devastating as it was," Mayor Lloyd Haines said. "I can't even describe how heartbreaking it was ... that water is rushing down to you, and there's nothing you can do to help people."

At least four of the dead are city residents who were pulled from their homes into Howard Creek.

Mother of five Nicole Lewis was nearly one of them, but she managed to grab hold of a tree and withstand the punishing current for three hours.

"I just prayed to God and just kept my kids, thinking about them," Lewis said. "I had people over here talking to me, saying they were calling, trying to get help, and I just held on. There was a couple times that I thought I was gone."

The National Weather Service expected rivers in West Virginia to crest overnight. The creek in White Sulphur Springs has been dropping, so the focus has been increasingly on the cleanup.

Still, the death toll is more than the number of people killed by tornadoes and lightning so far this year combined.