Death toll from Kentucky flooding hits 25, expected to rise-صحيفة الصوت


At least 25 people died — including four children — when torrential rains swamped towns across Appalachia, Kentucky’s governor said Saturday.

Gov. Andy Beshear said the number of deaths would likely rise significantly and that it could take weeks to find all the victims of the record flash flooding.

“This is an ongoing natural disaster,” Beshear told Fox News. “We are still in search and rescue mode. Thankfully, the rain has stopped. But it’s going to rain more starting Sunday afternoon.”

Rescue crews continue to struggle to get into hard-hit areas, some of which are among the poorest places in America. Crews have made more than 1,200 rescues from helicopters and boats, the governor said.

‘Total devastation’

Beshear, who flew over parts of the flood-stricken region on Friday, described it as “just total devastation, the likes of which we have never seen.”

“We are committed to a full rebuilding effort to get these folks back on their feet,” he said. “But for now, we’re just praying that we don’t lose anybody else.”

The rain let up early Friday after parts of eastern Kentucky received between eight and 10½ inches (20-27 centimetres) over 48 hours. But some waterways were not expected to crest until Saturday.

Houses are in floodwaters.
An aerial photo taken on Friday shows homes immersed in floodwaters from the North Fork Kentucky River in Jackson, Ky. Kentucky’s governor told media that the death toll resulting from the floods was expected to rise significantly and that it could take weeks to find all the victims. (Leandro Lozada/AFP/Getty Images)

Firefighter left rescue efforts to save his own children

In the tiny community of Wayland, Phillip Michael Caudill was working Saturday to clean up debris and salvage what he can from the home he shares with his wife and three children.

The waters had receded from the house but left a mess behind along with questions about what he and his family will do next.

“We’re just hoping we can get some help,” said Caudill, who is staying with his family at Jenny Wiley State Park in a free room, for now.

WATCH | Kentucky hit with catastrophic flooding

Kentucky hit with catastrophic flooding

Search and rescue teams in Kentucky are trying to reach residents who were trapped by powerful floods overnight, some of which wiped out entire communities.

Caudill, a firefighter in the Garrett community, went out on rescues around 1 a.m. Thursday but had to ask to leave around 3 a.m. so he could go home, where waters were rapidly rising.

“That’s what made it so tough for me,” he said. “Here I am sitting there watching my house become immersed in water and you got people begging for help. And I couldn’t help,” he said, because he needed to tend to his own family.

The water was up to his knees when he arrived home and he had to wade across the yard to carry two of his kids to the car. He could barely shut the door of his SUV as they left.

A destroyed house is on top of a bridge.
People work to clear a house from a bridge near the Whitesburg recycling centre in Letcher County, Ky., on Friday. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader/The Associated Press)

‘They’ve lost everything’

Patricia Colombo, 63, of Hazard, Ky., became stranded when her car stalled in floodwaters on a state highway. Colombo began to panic when water started rushing in.

Though her phone was dead, she saw a helicopter overhead and waved it down. The helicopter crew radioed a ground team that plucked her from danger.

Colombo stayed the night at her fiancé’s home in Jackson and they took turns sleeping, repeatedly checking the water with flashlights to see if it was rising. Though her car was a loss, Colombo said others had it worse in a region where poverty is endemic.

“Many of these people cannot recover out here. They have homes that are half underwater, they’ve lost everything,” she said.

It’s the latest in a string of catastrophic deluges that have pounded parts of the U.S. this summer, including St. Louis, Mo., earlier this week and again on Friday.

A flooded road.
Homes and structures are seen flooded near Quicksand, Ky., on Thursday. Rescue crews continue to struggle to get into hard-hit areas of the state, some of which are among the poorest places in America. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader/The Associated Press)

As rainfall hammered Appalachia this week, water tumbled down hillsides and into valleys and hollows where it swelled creeks and streams coursing through small towns. The torrent engulfed homes and businesses and trashed vehicles. Mudslides marooned some people on steep slopes.

U.S. President Joe Biden declared a federal disaster to direct relief money to more than a dozen Kentucky counties.

Other states also hit hard

The floodwaters raging through Appalachia were so swift that some people trapped in their homes couldn’t be immediately reached, said Floyd County Judge-Executive Robbie Williams.

Just to the west in hard-hit Perry County, authorities said some people remained unaccounted for and almost everyone in the area suffered some sort of damage.

“We’ve still got a lot of searching to do,” said Jerry Stacy, the county’s emergency management director.

Portions of at least 28 state roads in Kentucky were blocked due to flooding or mudslides and about 18,000 utility customers in the state remained without power early Saturday, reported.

The flooding extended into western Virginia and southern West Virginia. Rescue crews in those states worked to reach people 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.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin also made an emergency declaration, enabling officials to mobilize resources across the flooded southwest of the state.

Warmer air holds more water vapour

Scientists warn that weather disasters like extreme rain events are becoming more common as climate change bakes the planet and alters weather patterns. 

“It’s a battle of extremes going on right now in the United States,” said University of Oklahoma meteorologist Jason Furtado.

“These are things we expect to happen because of climate change … a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapour and that means you can produce increased heavy rainfall.”


Source link


اترك تعليقاً

لن يتم نشر عنوان بريدك الإلكتروني. الحقول الإلزامية مشار إليها بـ *