Floods caused by severe rains in eastern Kentucky have killed at least 37 people, including four children, according to Governor Andy Beshear, who also warned that more catastrophic weather is on its way.
Beshear announced 30 fatalities on Monday morning, followed by five more in an afternoon conference, when he suggested there will be more to come. He subsequently verified on Twitter that two additional people had died.
Authorities worked to rescue residents and offer food and shelter to thousands of displaced people. Weather conditions, authorities say, have impeded efforts.
Many households were unprepared for severe rain overnight, resulting in further fatalities, according to Beshear. He warned citizens in Eastern Kentucky to seek higher ground ahead of nighttime storms.
“It is a continuing natural disaster. We are still searching for people,” Beshear said in a CNN interview. “A large amount of grief throughout Kentucky.”
The National Weather Service predicted numerous rounds of rain and thunderstorms through Tuesday.
Beshear, who declared a state of emergency last week, predicted over the weekend that officials will “be finding bodies for weeks” as teams spread out to more isolated locations.
Days of severe rain, characterized by Beshear as “some of the worst in the state’s history,” carried away several houses in the hardest-hit districts. Rescue personnel were seen driving motor boats through residential and business areas in search of casualties in video footage released online.
The Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team posted video on Facebook on Sunday of a helicopter removing an 83-year-old lady from the roof of a nearly drowned house. This was part of a five-person rescue operation.
In Knott County alone, at least 16 people were killed. The corpses of four youngsters ranging in age from 18 months to eight years were discovered Friday afternoon. According to a family member, a strong current carried them away from their parents’ grasp.
“The mother and father was stranded in the tree for 8 hours before anyone got there to help,” Brittany Trejo said.
Eva Nicole “Nikki” Slone, a 50-year-old woman who went out on Thursday to check on an elderly acquaintance, was also killed in Knott County, according to her daughter.
Slone’s corpse was discovered the next day near his house.
Misty Franklin told the newspaper, “My mom was a very caring woman,”
The floods were Kentucky’s second big tragedy in seven months, after a cluster of tornadoes that killed almost 80 people in the state’s western section in December.
On Friday, President Joe Biden designated Kentucky a major disaster, enabling federal funds to be disbursed to the state.
According to PowerOutage.US, over 8,000 homes were still without power on Monday afternoon due to widespread damage to power lines. However, this was a decrease from 15,000 on Monday morning.
The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team has launched a humanitarian initiative to assist flood victims.
The team, one of the most decorated in collegiate sports, announced Tuesday evening that it will begin preparing for a telethon for Kentucky Flood Relief.