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‘Catastrophic’ flash flooding leaves hundreds stranded, 3 dead in Kentucky

Heavy rain poured down across southeastern Kentucky into Thursday morning, prompting a flash flood emergency and stranding hundreds.

The disastrous flooding occurred just two days following a historic deluge inundated the St. Louis area.

In a Thursday afternoon press conference, Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed an 81-year-old woman had died in Perry County. He confirmed yet another death in Perry County and another in neighboring Knott County, which brought the death toll to three. Beshear said he expects the death toll to attain double digits.

Beshear announced earlier Thursday a state of emergency has been declared in Breathitt, Clay, Owsley, Letcher and Pike counties. Hawaii of emergency that has been declared in Floyd County on Wednesday afternoon remained in place aswell.

Beshear described this as “among the worst & most devastating events in Kentucky’s history.”

Storm chaser Brandon Clement captured footage of extensive flooding that appeared to wash away entire properties in the eastern Kentucky town of Hindman, located about 93 miles southeast of Lexington.

“The water is around their doors. Should they escape, it’s waist-deep plus they can move up a hill, but I have no idea concerning the current,” Barbara Wicker, a Kentucky resident who was simply stuck in the flash flood, told Clement. “Their phones are most likely out. I cannot reach them, I cannot reach 9-1-1. I cannot reach nobody, no troopers. There is absolutely no assist in sight … It’s never been this bad.”

Kentucky 24-Hour Rainfall 7/28 AM
24-hour Doppler-estimated rainfall shows the heaviest rain fell near Hazard, Ky. Image thanks to AccuWeather

Local roads converted into rivers, making them impassable and at the very least four water rescues occurred in Hazard, Ky., that is a small town in Perry County, southeast of Frankfort. The rising water levels have washed away several homes and cars across multiple southeastern Kentucky counties.

“We have been coping with a catastrophic and historic flash-flooding situation in elements of the spot,” WYMT news director and anchor Steve Hensley said, based on the Lexington Herald Leader. “I’ve never seen water come off the hill behind the house like this. You can find people trapped and homes and roads flooded. A flash flood emergency continues in a number of counties.”

Hensley, 46, tweeted Thursday morning he has never seen flooding in Perry County just like the area is experiencing, adding that is really a “life-threatening situation.”

NBC News correspondent Maggie Vespa reported that at the very least 20 folks have been reported missing or unaccounted for in Perry County.

Rescue crews have already been struggling to reach several areas because of “swift water over roadways,” based on the Breathitt County Emergency Management Facebook page.

On Thursday morning, MEDVAC crews from the Kentucky National Guard were getting ready to leave Frankfort to aid in water rescues in eastern Kentucky.

“Because of heavy rainfall and flooding in [eastern] Kentucky, the Kentucky Guard has launched multiple aircraft to supply support for hoist & rescue operations,” Lt. Col. Stephen Martin, AAAF commander, tweeted.

“It is a very dangerous situation,” the National Weather Service office in Jackson, Ky., wrote on Twitter as flash flood emergencies continued Thursday morning.

AccuWeather meteorologists began warning early this week that torrential downpours were likely to raise flash flooding concerns across a 1,200-mile-long zone of america, including across elements of Kentucky, this week.

The majority of the rain started around 10 p.m. on Wednesday and continued to build up through the entire overnight hours, based on the Kentucky Mesonet, which includes weather-monitoring stations statewide.

In the last 24 hours, the majority of the rain has been isolated to southeastern Kentucky. A lot more than 5 inches had fallen in Breathitt, Perry, Owsley, Knott, Clay and Letcher counties, based on the Kentucky Mesonet.

“It just keeps coming! Torrential rain-producing storms continue steadily to roll over the same areas,” WKYT Chief Meteorologist Chris Bailey wrote on Twitter.

Houses were partially submerged in Hindman, Ky., early Thursday morning. Photo by Brandon Clement

Perry County is among among the hardest-hit areas with rainfall total radar estimates over 10 inches, in accordance with FOX56 Chief Meteorologist Chris Johnson.

“It has been wet in eastern Kentucky. One town, Jackson, has already established over 11 inches of rain up to now this month, for instance,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said, adding that whenever the ground has already been wet, particularly when combined with mountainous terrain, “it is a recipe for a few serious flash flooding.”

A photo shared on social media marketing shows the Buckhorn Elementary School, situated in Perry County, almost completely underwater. The water levels are simply shy of the top-story windows.

A Perry County dispatcher told the neighborhood television station, WKYT, that high waters washed away roads, bridges and homes.

Rescue crews have already been struggling to reach several areas because of “swift water over roadways,” based on the Breathitt County Emergency Management Facebook page.

“They said it had been ‘catastrophic’ and there is too many visitors to help,” Hindman resident Kendra Bentley told Clement.

The Breathitt County Courthouse opened its doors to those looking for temporary housing, based on the Breathitt County EMS.

“I don’t possess the words to spell it out the quantity of devastation daylight will uncover across eastern Kentucky,” WKYT Chief Meteorologist Chris Bailey wrote on Twitter. “That is likely to decrease among the worst flash flood events to ever hit hawaii.”

The damaging waters have cut capacity to a lot more than 25,000 customers across eastern Kentucky by Thursday morning, in accordance with PowerOutage.us.

“To everyone in Eastern Kentucky, we value you and we love you,” Beshear wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. “We will do our absolute best to accomplish everything we are able to to assist you.”

Pydynowski said that the wet weather will stay through the finish of the week before a short break from the rain occurs Saturday.

“More storms are possible Sunday, so unfortunately flash flooding will stay a problem through the weekend at the very least,” Pydynowski said.

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