background_fid.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Flooding devastates eastern Kentucky, more rain expected

whitesburg.jpeg
Zach Caudill
/
WEKU
Flooding in Whitesburg, Kentucky.

Eastern Kentuckians are living through one of the most devastating floods in state history.

Torrential rains rolled in Wednesday night, washing away homes and submerged entire downtowns by Thursday morning.

Heavy storms area expected to return to the area Thursday night, and more rain is forecast through the weekend, potentially compounding an already massive disaster.

The National Weather Service declared a flood watch for all of eastern Kentucky.

State officials confirmed three deaths by Thursday afternoon, but the total is expected to rise.

In Hindman, KY, Troublesome Creek broke through its banks, flooding the entire downtown.

flooding tweet.JPG
Twitter
/
Screenshot

Eastern Kentucky is one of the most vulnerable areas for flooding, according to an Ohio Valley Resource analysis of data that accounts for the effects of climate change.

Particularly at-risk areas include seven eastern Kentucky counties–Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin and Martin–which were all impacted by recent flooding.

climate diagram.JPG
OVR
/

In Whitesburg, OVR partner Appalshop’s first floor flooded after water breached the banks of the North Fork Kentucky River.

appalshop.JPG
Twitter
/

State officials are asking people to stay home and let emergency responders coordinate rescue efforts.

Gov. Andy Beshear set up the Team Eastern Kentucky Relief Fund, similar to the initiative set up after last year’s tornadoes in western Kentucky.

Beshear also opened up three state resort parks–Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Buckhorn and Pine Mountain State Resort Park–for families displaced by the flood.

The Ohio Valley Resource will be updating a list of opportunities to donate, volunteer and help as the recovery effort continues.

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for the Kentucky Public Radio Network, a group of public radio stations including WKU Public Radio. A native of Lexington, Ryland has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.