Catastrophic flash floods in the east Kentucky Now at 25 dead and at least a dozen missing, officials in the Appalachian region are trying to calculate the cost of the worst natural disaster there in decades.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he expected the state’s death toll to continue to rise and warned that officials were still unable to reach some areas.
Beshear told CNN on Saturday that there could be “many more” deaths from catastrophic flooding in the eastern part of the state.
“It’s getting worse. I think we’ll update it even in a few weeks… There are still a lot of people unaccounted for. And in this area, it’s going to be a difficult task to get a solid number of people who are unaccounted for.”
“We are still searching and recovering from the ongoing disaster,” he added, adding that the bodies of four young siblings were among those found after being swept away from their parents.
In Breathitt County, Coroner Hargis Epperson, told the Lexington Herald-Leader Three bodies were recovered in the last six or seven hours. “There may be more. We don’t know,” he said. “There are still areas we can’t access.
“It’s hard to explain how much water,” he added. “It flooded places that never flooded.”
The New York Times reported Among the dead were four young children belonging to a family.
The bodies of the children – Madison Noble, eight, Riley Jr, six, Neva Noble, four, and Chance Noble, two – were found in Knott County on Friday. The parents of the children in the tree also survived the flood.
“The fury of the water took their children out of their arms,” a relative, Brittany Trejo, told the newspaper.
Beshear said it could take years to rebuild communities affected by flooding, and that the southern part of the state could be flooded in less than a year. A powerful, late season hurricane It killed 70 people.
“I don’t want to lose another Kentuckian. We’ve lost a lot,” Beshear said, adding, “The state is going to be there to help them rebuild, and when we rebuild, we’re going to rebuild stronger.”
Joe Biden on Friday approved a disaster declaration that would allow federal aid to be sent to the state. But the amount and intensity of the rain that caused the flooding in the remote area has scientists worried.
Although the global climate crisis cannot be directly responsible for most individual weather events, the likelihood and frequency of catastrophic events has become more common.
Bill Heinberg, climatologist and state geologist, said the rain event was “unusual” for Kentucky. At least 33,000 people are now without power and muddy roads are impassable.
Eight to 10 inches of rain fell in Kentucky in 24 hours, according to the US Geological Survey. “People who deal with this for a living, even people who have been doing it for 20 years, have never seen water this big,” Beshear said.
Kentucky’s flooding comes days after torrential rains hit the St. Louis, Missouri area, killing two people and disrupting roads and neighborhoods.
Kentucky’s rivers are expected to crest this weekend, with more rain expected after a break in bad weather on Saturday. “More storms are expected on SundaySo, unfortunately, flash flooding will be a concern at least through the weekend. said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Bytinowski.