Historic flooding in Kentucky leaves at least 25 dead, including children, and officials worry the death toll may rise

As floodwaters damaged hundreds of homes, cars, and rivers and streams, they also caused at least 25 fatalities, which are now being attributed to a line of slow-moving thunderstorms that dumped torrential rain across eastern Kentucky early on Thursday.

KY HAZARD At least 25 deaths are now being attributed to a line of sluggish thunderstorms that pelted eastern Kentucky with torrential rain early on Thursday. Floodwaters damaged hundreds of homes, vehicles, and rivers and streams, and they burst their banks, causing extensive devastation.

Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky and FEMA Administrator Deanna Criswell surveyed the wreckage in a National Guard helicopter before announcing the most recent death toll in the Bluegrass State. Given that rescue efforts are still going on, the governor anticipates an increase in that figure.

After an aerial tour of certain disaster sites on Friday, the governor said, “Based on what we’ve seen, we may be changing the figure of how many we’ve lost over the next couple of weeks.”

Perry, Knott, Letcher, Clay, and Breathitt counties all have confirmed deaths. In Knott County, 11 of those fatalities occurred, including those of a 63-year-old male, a 65-year-old woman, and two kids. On Friday, the bodies of two more kids were discovered, bringing the total to almost 20. Amid Knott County, the four kids were lost in floodwaters.

Families trapped as floodwaters rip through eastern Kentucky and homes are floating away

“So continue to pray. There are still many people wandering the streets, many individuals missing, “added Beshear. “We’re going to try to find them all,” the group said.

FEMA crews have been on the ground since Thursday, and President Joe Biden authorized a disaster declaration for Kentucky on Friday, allocating government funding to support recovery efforts.

Early on Thursday morning, three different flash flood emergencies were in place for the vicinity of Hazard, Buckhorn, and McRoberts. As the heaviest rain left the area, the National Weather Service authorized those emergencies to end.

According to FOX Weather analyst Jane Minar, “Flash Flood Emergencies are only issued for extremely rare circumstances when we have catastrophic or life-threatening flooding happening within certain communities.

Eastern Kentucky’s National Guard and local first responders continued their rescue operations on Friday. However, due to poor cell service in many of the flood-affected areas, it is uncertain how many people are still missing and unaccounted for.

Beshear noted what National Guard personnel are observing in Breathitt County, which is located about 70 miles southwest of Lexington: “They observe a lot of people in Breathitt County alone on the roof, even we have some people in trees waiting for assistance.” “Not only is this a catastrophe. We are currently experiencing a natural calamity that is still raging.”

Instead of dialing 9-1-1, people are urged to contact their nearest Kentucky State Patrol station to report a missing person. Those local numbers are listed here.

In Eastern Kentucky, there are ten shelters open for flood victims that can accommodate more than 330 people.

Kentucky flooding

Videos and pictures from Buckhorn revealed a nearly completely submerged school, and officials warned that the catastrophe would delay pupils’ return from summer holiday.

Due to the high water levels on several roadways in this area of eastern Kentucky, troops of the West Virginia National Guard were dispatched to the state of Kentucky to assist with search and rescue operations.


DURING RESTORATION, FLOODWATERS CREATE NEW HAZARDS AND DESTRUCT MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE. More than 24 hours after the flooding situation started, roofs from buildings are still being swept downstream in floodwater.

According to Criswell, the totality of the long-term effects can only be seen from an overhead perspective.

The FEMA administrator added, “We witnessed several residences that are still under water, that the water has not subsided.” “We also saw homes that, based only on the condition of the roads and bridges, I believe will be difficult to access for a while. And thus, we are aware that the villages we just went over have undoubtedly been significantly impacted.”

Since Wednesday, between 7 and 10 inches of rain have fallen in certain areas of eastern Kentucky, the most of it in a short period of time early on Thursday morning. Jackson and Hazard both received close to 8 inches of rainfall.

With a reported 10.40 inches of rain pouring on Thursday, Buckhorn Lake recorded the highest rainfall total thus far.

“There are still significant risks outside even as we conduct search and rescue operations. In some parts, the water hasn’t crested yet and won’t till (Saturday), “said the governor. Thankfully, the scattered showers that are still in the forecast will be dry at least through Saturday and, ideally, through most of Sunday.

On Monday, though, additional rain is expected.

The amount of rain that fell in Kentucky during the previous 24 hours. , FOX Weather The North Fork of the Kentucky River at Whitesburg broke the previous record of 14.7 feet set on January 29, 1957, rising to an all-time record peak of 20.91 feet. Early on Thursday morning, the river level increased by approximately 18 feet in just a few hours. The river was only 1.6 feet deep earlier this week.

The National Weather Service reports that at the current level, the Kentucky Route 15 bridge in Whitesburg is under water as well as the residences and businesses along the river.


The Kentucky River will likely reach a moderate flood stage close to Ravenna. , FOX Weather Authorities in Jackson, Kentucky, evacuated the area around Panbowl Lake on Thursday night due to the rising water.

Authorities said that a muddy discharge at the dam along Kentucky State Road 15 was so worrying that more than 100 residences and around a dozen businesses had to be evacuated due to the possibility of further flooding.

According to a news statement from Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman, “the most appropriate step we can take right now is to do everything we can to keep residents safe.”

The governor claimed that on Friday morning, when the dam hadn’t yet burst, officials had more optimism.

The rescue and recovery activities are seriously concerned about other infrastructure. The governor of Perry County stated that efforts are still being made to determine how many bridges the county lost as a result of the flooding. Beshear remarked that every culvert in Letcher County’s low-lying areas is broken.


Just two days prior to this devastating flooding in Kentucky, a historic flood in St. Louis that occurred on Tuesday as a result of more than 9 inches of rain claimed one life.

Flooding in St. Louis and Kentucky: Two distinct 1-in-1,000-year flood events occurring in the same week

“I wish I could explain to you why Kentucky is continually attacked. I wish I could explain why people in less affluent areas keep acquiring wealth at the expense of everything “said Beshear. “Although I am unable to explain why, I am aware of what we do in response. Doing everything we can is the answer.”

How to give to the relief operations is as follows: Read more

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