Those who have seen most of the flooded areas believe Mullens was the eye of the storm. Indeed two weeks after the flood, the first sight of Mullens was startling. As soon as you turned off Route 16 and crossed the railroad tracks, the dried mud and broken-out store windows and store fronts appeared.

The street in front of the town hall was a sea of dusty mud, making it hard to even park a car. Red Cross emblems were pasted at the hall as a sign of relief headquarters. At the other end of the street, Andrew McKinney proclaimed his never-die attitude: 


    Some people believe Mullens was hit so hard because so many rivers and streams feed into Slab Fork and the Guyandotte River before they converge in the center of Mullens.


Slab Fork                                                                        Slab Fork joins the Guyandotte River

    Several business owners in Mullens, interviewed while they were cleaning out the mud, blamed timbering for some of the damage. Listen to Bill Wade:

Bill Wade

    Granted, Mullens had as much as 10 inches of rain on July 8. But there is a surprising amount of timbering and mining along the rivers and creeks feeding down to Mullens from Sophia, Slab Fork and Twin Falls. (See pages in Maben, Hotchkiss and Rhodell)

    As you drive along Stonecoal Creek, northeast of Rhodell, a large preparation plant and reclaimed slag pile appear. There is a dam for a slurry impoundment on the hillside. It didn't erode badly during the storm, but the bank alongside (towards left in photo below) did wash out. The material was carried down into a sediment pond, which overflowed into the creek.


Left Fork preparation plant and deep mine along Stonecoal Creek

    Coming down from Sophia, there is timbering, a deep mine and a small surface mine close to Route 16 between Stotesbury and Helen. A modest amount of washout from the timber job went from the staging area into the creek. There was also a constant stream of water flowing out of the mountain on the edge of the staging area. That water went into the creek.



    Near the community of Helen, a new surface mine was visible on the hilltop.

    For lots more photos of the flood in Mullens and recovery efforts, click

    To read more about how Mullens is recovering from the flood, read the story in the Huntington Herald Dispatch, Sunday, Aug. 26.