- Kentucky flood death toll rises to 37, governor issues warning.
- The National Weather Service is placing central, southern and eastern Kentucky on a flood alert.
- The governor warned that strong winds could bring more threats.
The heavy rains returned to Kentucky on Monday, where last week’s floods have already left 37 dead, according to the latest count by the authorities. Governor Andy Beshear stressed in a press conference that there are still hundreds of people missing, so authorities expect the death toll to continue to rise as the rescue efforts progress.
The National Weather Service (NWS) is keeping central, southern and eastern Kentucky on alert for flooding and predicts that torrential rains will continue on Tuesday. According to local media, the strong waterspouts caused by the rains for much of last week have destroyed electrical infrastructure, bridges, houses and roads.
Kentucky flood death toll rises
Part of the area also remains without telephone coverage, although the service is returning to many of the most affected areas. There are several children among the deceased, according to EFE.
On Sunday, Governor Beshear announced that he is activating new reservists from the state National Guard to help rescue Kentucky residents, some of whom are trapped on the rooftops of their homes, according to the local Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper.
“One of the worst and most devastating” floods in Kentucky history
On Thursday, the governor declared a state of emergency throughout the state and mobilized the National Guard to deal with what he has described as “one of the worst and most devastating” floods in the state’s history. This is the second natural disaster to hit Kentucky in less than eight months after a series of tornadoes in December took the lives of more than 80 people in the western part of the state.
On Friday, US President Joe Biden, declared it a “major disaster” area to confirm help from the federal government in dealing with the floods, the White House said in a statement.
Governor issues new warning
Governor Beshear warned that strong winds could bring another threat — downed trees and utility poles. Beshear suggested that many of the missing would be located when cell phone service resumes, noted The Associated Press.
“When cell service gets back up, we do see a whole lot of people finding people they love and care about, so looking forward to those stories,” he said. Radar indicated up to 4 inches (10.2 centimeters) more rain fell on Sunday and the National Weather Service warned that slow showers and thunderstorms could bring more flash flooding through Tuesday morning.
Heat wave could make things worse in Kentucky
“If things weren’t hard enough for people in this region, it’s raining right now,” Beshear said Monday, Aug. 1, on Capitol Hill in Frankfort. “Just as concerning is high winds — think about how saturated the ground has been.” The wind “could knock down poles, it could knock down trees. So people have to be careful.”
An approaching heat wave means “it’s going to get even more difficult when the rain stops,” the governor said. “We need to make sure that people are finally stable at that point.” The flooding broke out last week when 8 to 10½ inches (20 to 27 centimeters) of rain fell in just 48 hours across parts of eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia and western Virginia.