Kentucky floods: Death toll rises to 28 as region braces for more rain

“Our confirmed number of Kentuckians we’ve lost has now reached 28, and we expect there will be more and that number will grow,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Sunday.

Thursday’s devastating floods were unprecedented, officials said, inundating homes and washing away some of their foundations.

“This is one of the most devastating killer floods we’ve seen in our history,” Beshear said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” program on Sunday. “It wiped out areas where people didn’t have much to start with.”

“We’re going to be finding bodies for weeks, many of them swept hundreds of yards, maybe over a quarter of a mile from where they last were,” the official said. governor.

Now more rainfall is forecast which threatens some areas hardest hit by the deadly floods.

“The forecasts are concerning, and we’re watching them very closely, obviously. We’re also sending out warnings and making sure everyone is aware,” said Col. Jeremy Slinker, Kentucky’s director of emergency management.

“We’re preparing for it and making sure all residents are prepared for it because we just don’t want to lose anyone else or have any more tragedies,” he told Pamela Brown on Saturday. from CNN.

A flood watch is in effect at least Monday morning for parts of southern and eastern Kentucky, according to the National Weather Serviceand there is a Moderate Level 3 in 4 chance of excessive precipitation on Sunday in southeastern Kentucky, according to the Weather Prediction Center, raising fears of additional flooding.
Commanding Sgt.  Maj. Tim Lewis of the Kentucky National Guard secures 24-year-old Candace Spencer as she holds her 1-year-old son Wyatt after being airlifted July 30, 2022, from South Fork, Breathitt County, Kentucky.

“The threat of flash flooding will gradually increase as showers and thunderstorms with very heavy precipitation rates develop and spread today,” the center said, judging atmospheric conditions in the region as “of tropical nature”, which means that it is hot. moist and can handle an incredible amount of water.

Widespread rain totals of 1 to 3 inches are forecast over the next 24 to 48 hours, but up to 4 or 5 inches are possible in localized areas. As little as 1 to 2 inches can reignite flooding problems, especially in areas already flooded from heavy rains where the ground is saturated.

Some areas remain inaccessible, governor says

Officials believe thousands of people have been affected and efforts to rebuild some areas could take years, the governor told CNN on Saturday. The state’s estimated losses are potentially in the “tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars”.

In Perry County alone, about 50 bridges were swept away, County Executive Judge Scott Alexander said at a Sunday morning news conference, calling it “the biggest event I know Perry County has ever had. never faced”.

Tips for staying safe in a flood: Keep an ax in the attic

State officials were working on Sunday to open Buckhorn State Park to house a number of those who lost their homes, the governor said at the press conference, adding that he hoped to announce that the park of State could soon be used as a shelter.

“We recognize that the hotels and motels here are full, the shelters are full, people are sleeping in their cars and trucks and we don’t need them,” Beshear said.

After the rain, excessive heat is expected to build up in the area on Tuesday as many people are currently struggling with access to clean water, power outages and cell service still unavailable in some counties on Sunday.

“We have several Kentucky State Police stations receiving calls from loved ones who cannot connect with those they are concerned about,” the governor told NBC on Sunday. “But it’s going to take some time to fully understand that. We still can’t get into some areas to check on people.”

sergeant.  Thorin Brant of the Kentucky National Guard carries two children from a helicopter to Wendell H. Ford Regional Airport after being airlifted from South Fork, Ky., on a reconnaissance and rescue mission in the county of Breathitt, near Hazard, Kentucky.
More than 13,000 homes and businesses in the region were in the dark by early Sunday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us; three drinking water systems were totally out of order on Saturday, the governor said, leaving residents with no access to water, or only access to water that needed to be boiled before it could be safely consumed.

The federal government has sent tractor-trailers of bottled water to the area, and additional financial assistance is on the way.

The flood – like other recent weather disasters – was further amplified by the climate crisis: As global temperatures rise due to human-made fossil fuel emissions, the atmosphere is able to hold more water, making water vapor more abundantly available to fall as rain.
Scientists are increasingly confident in the role the climate crisis is playing in extreme weather events and have warned of such occurrences will become more intense and more dangerous at every fraction of a degree of warming.
Libby Duty, 64, of Jenkins, Kentucky, walked through her backyard while cleaning her basement on Saturday after historic rains flooded many areas of eastern Kentucky.

Authorities moved quickly to approve financial aid, given the number of people in need of help after losing everything.

The federal government has given the green light to funding people in five counties “at a rate we’ve never seen before,” Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman told CNN’s Pamela Brown on Saturday.

“Residents will actually be receiving direct payments, which is really good news in what will be a very long tunnel to see the light,” Coleman said.

Coleman did not provide an exact date when those payments should reach residents, although she said they would be dispersed as soon as the state receives the money.

Nearly $700,000 has been raised for relief efforts, Beshear said Saturday, noting that funeral expenses for those killed in the floods will be paid.

Additionally, the state is prioritizing the placement of generators in shelters for flood survivors as temperatures are expected to soar Tuesday after the rain.

Residents of Whitesburg, Kentucky begin to return to the small town in the eastern part of the state and assess the damage.

A ‘hero’ saved his family from a flooded house

Among the tales of heroism emerging from the disaster is an unidentified man who drifted through fast-moving waters to pick up a 98-year-old grandmotherher grandson and another family member out of their home as it was nearly engulfed in floods on Thursday.

Randy Polly, who witnessed the rescue in Whitesburg, Kentucky, and recorded parts of it on his cell phone, told CNN he got stuck some distance from the house as he was going to the gas station on Thursday morning.

Polly said she heard people shouting from across the flooded road: “Help me, help me.” He called 911, but first responders were overwhelmed and unresponsive to his calls.

A 17-year-old girl swam out of her flooded house with her dog and waited hours on a rooftop for rescue

At around 9 a.m. he saw a man he described as a hero drift into the house and start knocking on the door and window.

The man eventually helped pull three people out of the house and guided them through the rushing water, the videos show. The rescue took about 30 minutes, Polly said.

Missy Crovetti, who lives in Green Oaks, Illinois, told CNN the rescued people in the video are her grandmother Mae Amburgey, her uncle Larry Amburgey and her brother Gregory Amburgey. They are safe and doing well, she said.

Crovetti said she doesn’t know the name of the man who saved her family. Polly also said he did not know the man’s name.

CNN’s Chris Boyett, Sharif Paget, Gene Norman, Derek Van Dam, Haley Brink, Jalen Beckford, Angela Fritz, Chuck Johnston and Raja Razek contributed to this report.

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