Eight dead in floods that devastate Kentucky
At least eight people have died in Kentucky after historic heavy rain battered Appalachia on Thursday, as rapidly rising water pushed desperate people onto their rooftops.
Businesses, homes and roads were hit by the severe storms with flooding in the eastern part of the state, as well as in western Virginia and southwestern Virginia. Rescue teams used helicopters and boats to help people trapped by Mother Nature’s rage.
“In a word, this event is devastating,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said earlier Thursday. “And I believe it will end up being one of the most significant and deadly floods that we have had in Kentucky in at least a very long time.”
“We have a lot of people who need help that we can’t reach right now,” added Beshear. “We will.”
Beshear said he has called in the National Guard to help in the hardest-hit parts of his state and to help at three parks used as shelters for displaced people.
Persistent rains hampered rescue efforts, which got underway after the deadly storms triggered flash flooding and mudslides in the mountainous region.
Rescue workers in Perry County, Kentucky worked all night Wednesday through Thursday to help stranded people.
Perry’s Emergency Management Director Jerry Stacy called it a “catastrophic event.”
“We’re in rescue mode right now,” Stacy said. “Extreme flash floods and mudslides are just everywhere.”
Perry County dispatchers told WKYT-TV the flooding had washed out roads and bridges and ripped homes off their foundations. A town in the county urged people to “pray for a rain break”.
Beshear, who warned that property damage would be extensive as thousands were left without power, tweeted on Thursday evening He has asked the Biden administration to provide federal aid to eastern Kentucky.
“The damage suffered is tremendous and recovery will be a long-term effort,” he wrote. “This support is vital to our efforts and vital to our people.”
In Kentucky’s Breathitt County, Krystal Holbrook and her family moved as many of their belongings as possible to higher ground before dawn Thursday to avoid losing them to flooding, including vehicles, RVs, trailers and farm equipment.
However, as the water continued to rise, she said, “Higher terrain will be a bit difficult.
“It looks like a huge lake back here,” Holbrook said.
Greenbrier County firefighters in West Virginia pulled people from damaged homes and five campers were rescued in Nicholas County, WCHS-TV reported.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for six counties.
More flooding is possible through Friday in parts of Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, the National Weather Service said.
With postal wires