She believes that a lot of people who left the area after the floods might never return, “afraid that the water will come back.” And even many of those who do stay in the mountains will now be scattered, evicted by the floods from places where they had long lived and thought they always would. Ms. Prater, 70, insisted she would not be satisfied anywhere other than Lost Creek. “That’s home to me,” she said.

But still, it is not quite the same.

“I picked up my granddaughter the other day,” Ms. Prater said, “and I said to her, ‘Ah, things look so strange now, don’t it, honey?’”

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