At least 15 people have died and several others remain missing after heavy rains caused severe flooding in eastern Kentucky, the state’s governor announced on Friday, in the latest extreme weather event that has struck the US this week.
In a video address, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) warned he expects the number to “more than double” by the end of the day as heavy rain continues to fall in the region.
Without providing an exact number Beshear said the death toll includes children.
To help find the missing people and rescue those who are trapped in the houses, the state has mobilized the National Guard.
Beshear said around 50 people were rescued by helicopters and “hundreds” were rescued by boat.
The heavy flooding has caused mudslides, destroyed bridges, swept away vehicles, submerged homes and destroyed power lines.
As of Friday morning, nearly 24,000 homes in the state were left without power, according to the tracker PowerOutage.us.
What To Watch For
According to The Associated Press, flood water levels in several areas have receded from their Thursday peak, but as rains continue to fall the threat of flash flooding still remains. Parts of Virginia and West Virginia which also experienced heavy rains on Thursday also are at risk of flash flooding,
In an interview with CNN, Beshear said: “There's going to be multiple families that we've lost…This is so deadly, and it hit so hard, and it hit in the middle of the night, we've never seen something like this.” While declaring a state of emergency on Thursday Beshear said the floods were "one of the worst, most devastating" Kentucky has ever seen.
Thursday's floods take place less than a year after multiple devastating tornadoes struck Kentucky resulting in the death of at least 77 people. Earlier this week the neighboring state of Missouri also witnessed heavy rainfall that caused flash floods in the city of St. Louis. Similar floods were witnessed in parts of northern Arizona, forcing local officials to declare a state of emergency. While some areas faced torrential rainfall, other parts of the country were hit by record high temperatures and devastating forest fires earlier this month. Scientists have attributed these extreme weather events to rising global temperatures and have warned that these events could become more frequent as the climate changes.
Flash Floods Swamp St. Louis In Latest Bout Of Extreme US Weather (Forbes)
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15 dead in Appalachian flooding, toll expected to rise (Associated Press)
Credit: www.forbes.com /