cloudyn.png
Monday November 28th, 2022 12:14AM

Appalachian floods kill at least 15 as rescue teams deploy

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

JACKSON, Ky. (AP) — Search and rescue teams backed by the National Guard searched Friday for people missing in record floods that wiped out entire communities in some of the poorest places in America. Kentucky’s governor said 15 people have died, a toll he expected to grow as the rain keeps falling.

“We’ve still got a lot of searching to do,” said Jerry Stacy, the emergency management director in Kentucky ’s hard-hit Perry County. “We still have missing people.”

Powerful floodwaters swallowed towns that hug creeks and streams in Appalachian valleys and hollows, swamping homes and businesses, trashing vehicles in useless piles and crunching runaway equipment and debris against bridges. Mudslides marooned people on steep slopes and at least 33,000 customers were without power.

Gov. Andy Beshear told The Associated Press Friday that the 15 dead in Kentucky includes children, and said “I expect that number to more than double, probably even throughout today.”

Emergency crews made close to 50 air rescues and hundreds of water rescues on Thursday, and more people still needed help, the governor said: "This is not only an ongoing disaster but an ongoing search and rescue. The water is not going to crest in some areas until tomorrow.”

Determining the number of people unaccounted for is tough with cell service and electricity out across the disaster area, he said: “This is so widespread, it’s a challenge on even local officials to put that number together.”

More than 200 people have sought shelter, Beshear said. He deployed National Guard soldiers to the hardest-hit areas. Three parks set up shelters, and with property damage so extensive, the governor opened an online portal for donations to the victims. President Joe Biden called to express his support for what will be a lengthy recovery effort, Beshear said, predicting it will take more than a year to fully rebuild.

Biden also declared a federal disaster to direct relief money to more than a dozen Kentucky counties, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency appointed an officer to coordinate the recovery.

Beshear had planned to tour the disaster area on Friday, but postponed it due to “unsafe air travel conditions,” his office said.

More rain Friday tormented the region after days of torrential rainfall. The storm sent water gushing from hillsides and surging out of streambeds, inundating roads and forcing rescue crews to use helicopters and boats to reach trapped people. Flooding also damaged parts of western Virginia and southern West Virginia, across a region where poverty is endemic.

“There are hundreds of families that have lost everything,” Beshear said. “And many of these families didn’t have much to begin with. And so it hurts even more. But we’re going to be there for them.”

Poweroutage.us reported more than 33,000 customers remained without electricity Friday in eastern Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, with the bulk of the outages in Kentucky.

Rescue crews also worked in Virginia and West Virginia to reach people in places where roads weren’t passable. Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for six counties in West Virginia where the flooding downed trees, power outages and blocked roads. Gov. Glenn Youngkin also made an emergency declaration, enabling Virginia to mobilize resources across flooded areas of southwest Virginia.

“With more rainfall forecasted over the next few days, we want to lean forward in providing as many resources possible to assist those affected,” Youngkin said in a statement.

While some floodwaters receded after peaking Thursday, the National Weather Service said flash flooding remained possible through Friday evening in places across the region.

The hardest hit areas of eastern Kentucky received between 8 and 10 1/2 inches over a 48-hour period ending Thursday, said Brandon Bonds, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Jackson. Some areas got more rain overnight, including Martin County, which was pounded with another 3 inches or so leading to new a flash flood warning on Friday.

The North Fork of the Kentucky River rose to broke records in at least two places. A river gauge recorded 20.9 feet (6.4 meters) in Whitesburg, more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) over the previous record, and the river crested at a record 43.47 feet (13.25 meters) in Jackson, Bonds said.

Bonds said some places could see more rain Friday afternoon, and begin to dry out on Saturday “before things pick back up Sunday and into next week.”

Krystal Holbrook already had enough on Thursday, as her family raced through the night to move vehicles, campers, trailers and equipment as the rapidly rising floodwaters menaced her southeastern Kentucky town of Jackson. "Higher ground is getting a little bit difficult” to find, she said.

In Whitesburg, Kentucky, floodwaters seeped into Appalshop, an arts and education center renowned for promoting and preserving the region's history and culture.

“We’re not sure exactly the full damage because we haven’t been able to safely go into the building or really get too close to it," said Meredith Scalos, its communications director. “We do know that some of our archival materials have flooded out of the building into Whitesburg streets.”

___

Associated Press Writers Rebecca Reynolds and Dylan Lovan in Louisville, Ky., and Sarah Brumfield in Silver Spring, Md., contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Zelenskyy visits port as Ukraine prepares to ship out grain
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited a Black Sea port as crews prepare terminals to export grain trapped by Russia’s five-month-old war
8:48AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Appalachian floods kill at least 15 as rescue teams deploy
Search and rescue teams backed by the National Guard searched Friday for people missing in record floods that wiped out entire communities in some of the poorest places in America
8:46AM ( 7 minutes ago )
15 dead in Appalachian flooding, toll expected to rise
Search and rescue teams backed by the National Guard searched Friday for people missing in record floods that wiped out entire communities in some of the poorest places in America
8:41AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Russia and Ukraine trade blame for shelling of POW prison
Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling a prison in a separatist region of eastern Ukraine
7:54AM ( 1 hour ago )
New constitution gives some Tunisians hope, others concern
Tunisians have approved a referendum on a new constitution that gives more powers to the country’s president
7:44AM ( 1 hour ago )
Zelenskyy observes ships loaded with Ukrainian grain exports
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited the Odesa region to observe the loading of grain as exports prepare to resume for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion
7:16AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Isolation complication? US finds it's hard to shun Russia
The Biden administration likes to say Russia is now isolated internationally because of its invasion of Ukraine
5:14AM ( 3 hours ago )
Inflation hits record 8.9% in 19 countries using the euro
Inflation in the  European countries using the euro currency shot up to another record in July, pushed by higher energy prices driven partly by the war in Ukraine
5:07AM ( 3 hours ago )
For Taiwan, Pelosi visit is about US, China controlling risk
The crisis sparked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan misses a key point, experts say: that the real focus should be on how the United States and China manage their differences so the risks of confrontation don’t spiral out of control
4:16AM ( 4 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
15 dead in Appalachian flooding, toll expected to rise
Search and rescue teams backed by the National Guard searched Friday for people missing in record floods that wiped out entire communities in some of the poorest places in America
8:41AM ( 13 minutes ago )
A key US inflation gauge reaches 6.8% as prices keep surging
An inflation gauge that is closely tracked by the Federal Reserve jumped 6.8% in June from a year ago, the biggest increase in four decades, and leaving Americans with no relief from surging costs
8:39AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Unprecedented profit for major oil drillers as prices soared
Oil companies swam in record profits over the last few months at a time when Americans struggled to pay for gasoline, food and other basic necessities
8:36AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Zelenskyy visits port as Ukraine readies for grain exports
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited a Black Sea port as crews prepare terminals to export grain trapped by Russia’s five-month-old war
8:31AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Unprecedented profit for major oil companies as price soared
Oil companies were swimming in record profits the last few months
8:26AM ( 28 minutes ago )