Eight people have been killed in massive flooding across the eastern part of Kentucky after massive overnight rains, the governor announced Thursday – an inundation which he claims is “one of the biggest devastating storms” in the history of the commonwealth.
“This is a continuing natural catastrophe and forecasted rain for tonight that could exacerbate the situation. It has incredibly increased to eight Kentuckians who died,” Gov. Andy Beshear tweeted.
Beshear stated that personnel from his department, the National Guard, the Fish & Wildlife Department and the state police, and the local agencies for emergency management were responding to the situation.
Parts of Kentucky surrounding Hazard have received greater than nine inches rainfall between Wednesday and Thursday morning According to National Weather Service radar estimates and local observer. The rainfall in eastern Kentucky overflowed streams, creeks and the ground, which was already saturated due to previous rains according to the weather service. Warnings for flooding in parts of eastern Kentucky are extended in some instances, until Monday evening.
Additional amounts of rain of up to an inch are predicted to last until Friday night. “We’re monitoring the weather very closely and it shouldn’t take much to trigger more flooding problems,” Dustin Jordan, of the Weather Service Office in Jackson spoke to CNN.
The torrential rains have caused a plethora of destruction to homes across the state’s central Appalachia and have forced residents to climb up the roofs of their homes flooded to wait for the arrival of rescuers, Governor John G. Hogan said during a press conference after noon.
Eastern Kentucky resident Belinda Asher told her she got an alert for flash flooding on her cell phone around 1:15 a.m.
“By 2.30 a.m. all I owned was submerged,” she told CNN adding that between 10 and 15 families within the same 1-mile area had also lost everything.
Asher asher, her husband and three children reside along the line that divides Breathitt as well as Perry counties. The three-bedroom house and truck were swept away by the floods on Thursday morning. The family is currently staying with her brother-in-law and his wife in Hazard.
“I do not have a plan. I’m not sure, how do you begin from scratch?” she asked. The governor stated that the state would require for a long period of recovery.
“Hundreds are likely to lose their homes and this will be a second time (where) it will require not just months, but possibly years in order for families of all kinds to build and rebuild,” Beshear said at the morning press briefing.
On Thursday morning, the governor called in on Thursday the National Guard to help with recovery and rescue efforts as well as declared an emergency in order to increase the assistance of resources in the rescue, he stated.
The Guard has identified individuals trapped on roofs, and was “making preparations to enter and take them off,” the state’s adjutant general General. General. Hal Lamberton, said during a news conference in the morning, without providing specifics about where the individuals were.
Videos from different locations showed flooding that covered roads and swallowed parts of vehicles and homes.
In the tiny town of Hindman the lake has formed in valleys almost covering pickups, and expanding over a number of houses, with some nearly reaching the roofs of their homes drone footage recorded by storm chaser Brandon Clement showed.
Barbara Wicker was worried about relatives in Hindman with five grandchildren, as their homes were inundated by water she informed Clement in an interview before dawn.
“I am unable to get them. I can’t reach 911. … There’s no help on the way,” Wicker told Clement in the open in Hindman the town of Hindman. It’s the town of Knott County town roughly a 130-mile drive to the southeast of Lexington.
Then, in Elkhorn City, Glenda Looney and her husband were sitting in their front porch following the move of things upstairs, and prayed for water to drain.
The water was one inch deep within the laundry room , and the floors of most of the rooms were saturated.
“We are so grateful that all we’ve got here to do is clean” and tearing up carpets Looney stated to CNN. “We grieve for those who have suffered so much loss.”
The weather is likely to improve by the coming weekend. “We will likely observe dry weather beginning to return to the region as we move towards Saturday for the majority of locations,” the weather service’s Jordan said.
Deaths have occurred in at least two counties
Of the victims due to the floods, at least one of them died at least one of them was in Perry County, and one in Knott County, Beshear said during the second news conference.
Another woman was 81 years old who was born in Perry County, the governor declared, but without revealing the place she died. The Perry County coroner’s office said it was aware of at most one death on this morning — of an 82-year old woman whose body was discovered at Coneva after she went missing.
Authorities were required take a half mile on a boat, and then walk 1 mile on foot to get her, according to Jeffrey Combs, Perry County’s chief deputy coroner.
The majority of roads in the county aren’t accessible the county, according to Combs who refused to divulge the identity of the woman.
Perry County Judge Scott Alexander stated to CNN that at the very minimum 75 percent of the county is suffering significant damages to bridges and roads and that a number of homes were damaged.
A 76-year-old male and a woman who was in her 60s/70s passed away at the hands of Clay County after being swept away from their homes in the city of Manchester officials from the coroner’s office reported.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the victims were among the eight deaths that Beshear announced.
There isn’t a precise count of people who are missing. Governor said “There are many missing persons and I’m almost certain that this is a situation in which we’ll lose a few.”
Residents of Breathitt, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley, Pike, Perry and Wolfe counties that have relatives who are missing have been requested to by Kentucky State Police to have the missing family member’s initial and last nameas well as as well as their phone number, address, and description in case they need to contact the state authorities.
The county of Floyd County, about 80 people were rescued, according to the Judge/Executive Robbie Williams. He noted that the majority of them were in the western region of the county, where it rained between 6 and 7 inches over a four-hour time.
“I’ve ever seen as amount of rain before,”” Williams said. “I am talking about it being completely has poured, and we’ve got you know, a few tiny towns that are totally submerged.”
He stated that he had not had any reports of deaths or reports of anyone being missing.
The region is hit by outages of power and water service
It was reported that the National Guard was deploying helicopters and trucks that are able to navigate through the water to deliver items and move people around as well. Beshear was also declaring an emergency in order to find the other sources of resources, he stated during a news conference. Fish and wildlife experts were “out with boats, trying to ensure water rescues are they could be safe for their workers,” he said.Beshear stated to CNN affiliate WLEX that that there were air rescues that included between 20 to 30 people. The guard units of Tennessee as well as West Virginia were sending helicopters to help, he explained.