This non-tropical flash flood is the deadliest to hit the country in 45 years.
The fatality toll has stayed at 37, according to Governor Andy Beshear, but eastern Kentucky now faces a severe problem days after flood waters tore through rural towns.
The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for the area from noon on Wednesday until 8 p.m. on Thursday because of the region’s expected high temperatures of 90 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday, which would feel almost 100 degrees due to the humidity.
When heavy rain falls on a hilly area, it channels into valleys and travels more rapidly downhill. Due to this, generally calm creeks or rivers that are only a few feet deep can become deadly, swiftly moving torrents that can reach depths of 20 feet or more. This flood wave can carry off houses, big rocks, cars, and trees as it travels downstream.
Consider how terrible these events may be if they occurred at night when people might be asleep and water might be harder to spot.
After raining between 8 and 10 1/2 inches (20-27 centimeters) in certain areas of eastern Kentucky for 48 hours, the rain stopped early on Friday. According to power outage.us, about 13,000 utility customers in Kentucky were still without power on Sunday. More than a dozen Kentucky counties will receive assistance after President Joe Biden declared a federal disaster.
Numerous people were forced from their homes as a result of the flooding, which started early on Thursday when heavy rain struck a region that was already saturated.
Homes were destroyed to the foundation, farms and businesses were destroyed, and residents’ homes, cars, and other possessions suffered severe damage. Beshear reported on Tuesday that at least 37 people have died as a result of the storm. The governor stated that further fatalities are feared.
A daily update from Beshear states that about 200 individuals are being housed at Kentucky State parks, while 430 people are residing in the state’s 11 operational emergency shelters. As a result of this week’s high heat, Beshear announced on Tuesday the opening of eight cooling centers, especially for those without electricity and other vulnerable groups.
More than 1,300 rescues have been carried out since Thursday, Beshear confirmed on Tuesday. He issued a warning that the situation was still dynamic as search and rescue efforts continued.
The state-created Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has received more than 5,600 gifts, totaling more than $684,000, to help with the catastrophe response. The families who are paying for funerals for departed loved ones will receive the first payment of the money raised.
Since the town’s bank, pharmacy, and post office were all damaged, residents—many of whom are elderly and still receive wages and retirement checks via the mail or at the bank—are having trouble getting their hands on cash and prescription drugs, according to Mayor Susan Polis.
Online banking is nearly impossible because there is little to no cell service and a malfunctioning internet connection. Another big problem is having access to clean, flowing water.
The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 16,000 lives in Kentucky, which is also still healing from a tornado outbreak that tore through the state in December and killed more than 70 people. Flooding is only the most recent tragedy to hit the area.
Beshear acknowledged that catastrophic natural catastrophes have affected Kentuckians all around the state during his Monday speech at a gathering in western Kentucky for individuals affected by the tornadoes.
The flooding from last week also affected West Virginia, where Governor Jim Justice declared an emergency for six southern counties, and Virginia, where Governor Glenn Youngkin also declared an emergency, allowing authorities to mobilize resources throughout the flooded southwest region of the state.