At least eight people are dead in Kentucky after historical heavy rain pummeled the Appalachia Thursday as fast-rising water pushed desperate people up to their rooftops.
Businesses, homes and roads were battered with floodwaters in the eastern part of the state, as well as in western Virginia and southern West Virginia, from the severe storms. Rescue crews 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 do believe it will end up being one of the most significant, deadly floods that we have had in Kentucky in at least a very long time.”
“We’ve got a lot of people that need help that we can’t get to at the moment,” Beshear added. “We will.”
Beshear said he called in the National Guard to assist in the hardest-hit parts of his state, as well as to help at three parks being used as shelters for displaced people.
Sustained rainfall hampered the rescue effort that got underway after the deadly storms sparked flash flooding and mudslides across the mountainous region.
Rescue crews in Kentucky’s Perry County worked throughout the night Wednesday into Thursday to help stranded people.
Perry’s Emergency Management Director Jerry Stacy called it a “catastrophic event.”
“We’re just in the rescue mode right now,” Stacy said. “Extreme flash flooding and mudslides are just everywhere.”
Perry County dispatchers told WKYT-TV the flooding washed out roads and bridges while knocking homes off their foundations. One city in the county urged people to “pray for a break in the rain.”
Beshear, who warned property damage would be extensive as thousands were without power, tweeted Thursday night he’s requested the Biden administration provide federal aid to eastern Kentucky.
“The damage suffered is enormous and recovery will be a long-term effort,” he wrote. “This assistance is critical to our efforts and essential for our people.”
In Kentucky’s Breathitt County, Krystal Holbrook and her family Thursday before dawn moved as many of their possessions to higher ground to avoid losing it to flooding, including vehicles, campers, trailers and farm equipment.
As water kept rising though, she said “higher ground is getting a little 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 saved in Nicholas County, WCHS-TV reported.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for six counties.
More flooding is possible into Friday in parts of Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, the National Weather Service said.
With Post wires