West Virginia Hazard Mitigation Plan

​​​​​​​​​​The State of West Virginia ​is committed to building resilience for future hazard events in all communities through ongoing risk reduction efforts. West Virginia is vulnerable to a wide range of natural and non-natural hazards that have impacted and will continue to impact its people, property, environment, infrastructure, and economy. The State has received 77 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster declarations since 1954. Of these, 32 involved floods, and 31 involved severe storm incidents. Many other disasters and emergencies have also occurred within this time frame. All have resulted in a hefty cost to West Virginia’s people, environment, property, and economy, and the pace and magnitude of disasters is expected to increase due to the changing nature of hazard events.

​West Virginia State Hazard Mitigation Plan (2023)

Executive Summary

Table of Contents

Part I:  Background Information

Part II: Planning Process

Part III: Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Part IV: Capabilities and Coordination ​

Part V: Mitigation Strategy

Part VI: Putting the Plan into Action


Appendix A: Meeting Documentation

Appendix B: Outreach Documentation

Appendix C: Dams Listed on the National Inventory of Dams​ ​

​​Reducing risks associated with hazards requires an integrated and collaborative approach that emphasizes building community resilience through federal, state, and local cooperation. Hazard mitigation is the sustained effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening or eliminating the impacts of natural and human-caused emergencies and disasters. It requires an understanding of all risks and investment in long-term community well-being through the implementation of short-term and long-term strategies before the next disaster (FEMA 2022). The purpose of hazard mitigation planning is to identify and assess hazards that impact the state, develop a strategy to reduce losses from those hazards, and establish a coordinated process to implement the strategy.

Since 2004, the State has been eligible to receive non-emergency Stafford Act assistance and federal mitigation pre-disaster assistance by maintaining an approved state hazard mitigation plan (SHMP) compliant with Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Section 20.14 (44 C.F.R. §201.4) and related FEMA mitigation planning guidance. Authority for this plan originates from the following federal sources:​
Having an approved SHMP qualifies the State to obtain funding for repairing and replacing infrastructure under the following programs:
The 2018 SHMP was approved on October 17, 2018, and had an expiration date of October 16, 2023. As an update to the 2018 SHMP, the plan was developed over the course of a year in conjunction with a multidisciplinary group of local, regional, state, and federal stakeholders, as well as input from the public and review by FEMA.

West Virginia’s SHMP effort is maintained by the State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO) in the West Virginia Emergency Management Division (WVEMD). The SHMO’s responsibilities in preparing and implementing the SHMP are as follows:
  • Ensure that the SHMP meets FEMA requirements and is approved by FEMA.
  • Coordinate the continued development of the SHMP with stakeholders, strategic working groups, and outreach to other local, public/private, state, and federal agencies in order to keep the plan relevant.
  • Provide opportunities for stakeholder involvement in the continuous update and implementation of the SHMP.
  • Administer FEMA hazard mitigation assistance programs listed above to support plan implementation at the state and regional/county levels.
  • Support integration of local and regional hazard mitigation efforts with the SHMP.
The State is committed to updating and implementing its long-term strategy for reducing the risks of hazards, as documented in this updated 2023 SHMP. The SHMP serves as a guide for state, regional, and local decision-makers to make important risk-informed decisions to reduce the impacts of the identified hazards on people, property, and the environment.​​​