Kentucky death toll reaches 26 amid renewed flood threat

Hindmann, Ky. – The number of deaths from massive flooding in Kentucky rose further on Sunday amid a renewed threat of heavier rains.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said on NBC’s Meet The Press that the death toll has risen by one to 26 since last week’s storms.

Beshear said the number was likely to increase significantly and it could take weeks to find all the victims. As many as 37 people were missing, according to a daily briefing from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Additionally, more flash flooding was possible in parts of the Appalachian Mountains Sunday and Monday as recent storms roll through, the National Weather Service said. Rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour were possible in some of the same areas that were flooded last week.

A dozen shelters for flood victims were open in Kentucky with 388 residents as of Sunday, according to FEMA.


Beshear said state police are taking calls from concerned people who are unable to locate loved ones due to patchy cell phone service.

“We still can’t get into some areas to check on people,” Beshear said. “We are doubling our National Guard. We will work on going door to door, work on finding as many people as possible again. We will even work in the rain. But the weather makes it difficult.”

On an overcast morning in downtown Hindman, about 200 miles (322 kilometers) southeast of Louisville, a crew cleared debris piled up along storefronts. Nearby, a vehicle was parked upside down in Troublesome Creek, which now lies back in its debris-strewn banks.

Faced with the threat of more rain, workers toiled non-stop through muddy sidewalks and streets.

“We’ll be here unless there’s a deluge,” said Tom Jackson, who is among the workers.

Jackson was about a two-hour drive from Hindman with a crew from Corbin, Kentucky, where he is the town’s recycling director.


His crew worked all Saturday, and the mud and debris were so thick they managed to clear a furlong of the road. The water that had tumbled from the slopes was of such force that it had bent street signs.

“I’ve never seen water like this,” Jackson said.

In Knott County, Teresa Perry Reynolds’ home was flooded with water and mud. She and her husband took refuge in their 44-foot trailer, but it was submerged by the floodwaters.

“I have the clothes on my back,” she said Saturday when asked what they could salvage.

They found her husband’s wallet after searching for a day and a half. It was left behind when they escaped the rapidly rising waters and went to a neighbor’s house on Thursday. A team of volunteers hauled debris out of their home on Saturday.

She and her husband are staying with friends. She is a retired teacher and her husband is a retired school administrator.

“All I know is that I’m homeless and I have people to take care of me,” she said.


The rain eased early Friday after parts of eastern Kentucky received between 20 and 27 centimeters (8 and 10 1/2 inches) over 48 hours. About 13,000 utility customers in Kentucky were left without power Sunday. power reported.

President Joe Biden declared a federal disaster to channel relief funds to more than a dozen Kentucky counties.

Last week’s flooding spanned West Virginia, where Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for six southern counties, and Virginia, where Gov. Glenn Youngkin also issued an emergency declaration that allowed officials to allocate resources in the flooded southwestern part of the country mobilize state.


Associated Press writer John Raby contributed to this report from Charleston, West Virginia.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Kentucky death toll reaches 26 amid renewed flood threat

Sarah Y. Kim

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