Floods in Kentucky: More rain will hit already soaked and devastated communities as the region remains in search and rescue mode after deadly floods

“The forecasts are concerning, and we’re watching them very closely, obviously. We’re also sending out warnings and making sure everyone is aware,” said Col. Jeremy Slinker, Kentucky’s director of emergency management.

“We’re preparing for it and making sure all residents are prepared for it because we just don’t want to lose anyone else or have any more tragedies,” he told Pamela Brown on Saturday. from CNN.

A flood watch is in effect at least Monday morning for parts of southern and eastern Kentucky, according to the National Weather Serviceand there is a Moderate Level 3 in 4 chance of excessive precipitation on Sunday in southeastern Kentucky, according to the Weather Prediction Center, raising fears of additional flooding.

Widespread rain totals of 1 to 3 inches are forecast over the next 24 to 48 hours, but up to 4 or 5 inches are possible in localized areas. As little as 1 to 2 inches can reignite flooding problems, especially in areas already flooded from heavy rains where the ground is saturated.

The worrying forecast comes as crews in eastern Kentucky continue their search for people missing after devastating floods last Thursday inundated homes and swept away some of their foundations, sending residents fleeing to higher ground.

Twenty-six people have been confirmed dead, Gov. Andy Beshear said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday, in what officials describe as unprecedented flooding for the region. The death toll is expected to rise as crews gain more access to currently impassable areas, Beshear told CNN on Saturday.

“There are still so many people missing,” Beshear said. “It’s going to get worse.”

A 17-year-old girl swam out of her flooded house with her dog and waited hours on a rooftop for rescue

Officials believe thousands of people have been affected and efforts to rebuild some areas could take years, the governor said. The state’s estimated losses are potentially in the “tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars,” Beshear noted on Saturday.

After the rain, excessive heat is expected to build up in the area on Tuesday as many people are currently struggling with access to clean water, power outages and cell service still unavailable in some counties on Saturday.

More than 10,000 homes and businesses in the region were in the dark early Sunday, according to PowerOutage.us; three drinking water systems were completely out of service on Saturday, the governor said.

“The water is still high in some counties. It’s peaking in most, but not all. The water systems are overwhelmed. So either no water or water that’s not safe, that you have to boil,” Beshear said.

The federal government has sent tractor-trailers of bottled water to the area, and additional financial assistance is on the way.

The flood – like other recent weather disasters – was further amplified by the climate crisis: As global temperatures rise due to human-made fossil fuel emissions, the atmosphere is able to hold more water, making water vapor more abundantly available to fall as rain.
Scientists are increasingly confident in the role the climate crisis is playing in extreme weather events and have warned of such occurrences will become more intense and more dangerous at every fraction of a degree of warming.

A ‘hero’ saved his family from a flooded house

Among the tales of heroism emerging from the disaster is an unidentified man who drifted through fast-moving waters to drag a 98-year-old grandmother, her grandson and another family member out of their home as it was almost swallowed by floods on Thursday.

Randy Polly, who witnessed the rescue in Whitesburg, Kentucky, and recorded parts of it on his cell phone, told CNN he got stuck some distance from the house as he was going to the gas station on Thursday morning.

Polly said she heard people shouting from across the flooded road: “Help me, help me.” He called 911, but first responders were overwhelmed and unresponsive to his calls.

Gregory Amburgey with his 98-year-old grandmother, Mae Amburgey, in a house submerged in water.

At around 9am he saw a man he described as a hero drift towards the house and start knocking on the door and window.

The man eventually helped pull three people out of the house and guided them through the rushing water, the videos show. The rescue took about 30 minutes, Polly said.

Missy Crovetti, who lives in Green Oaks, Illinois, told CNN the rescued people in the video are her grandmother Mae Amburgey, her uncle Larry Amburgey and her brother Gregory Amburgey. They are safe and doing well, she said.

Crovetti said she doesn’t know the name of the man who saved her family. Polly also said he did not know the man’s name.

Ongoing financial assistance

Authorities moved quickly to approve financial aid, given the number of people in need of help after losing everything.

The federal government has given the green light to funding people in five counties “at a rate we’ve never seen before,” Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman told CNN’s Pamela Brown on Saturday.

Tips for staying safe in a flood: Keep an ax in the attic

“Residents will actually be receiving direct payments, which is really good news in what will be a very long tunnel to see the light,” Coleman said.

Coleman did not provide an exact date when those payments should reach residents, although she said they would be dispersed as soon as the state receives the money.

Additionally, nearly $700,000 has been raised for relief efforts, Beshear said Saturday. He noted that the funeral expenses of those killed in the floods will be paid.

Libby Duty, 64, of Jenkins, Kentucky, walked through her backyard while cleaning her basement on Saturday after historic rains flooded many areas of eastern Kentucky.

“We want these loved ones to be able to reconnect with their family members and that these people can arrange appropriate funerals for their loved ones,” Coleman said.

Additionally, the state is prioritizing the placement of generators in shelters for flood survivors as temperatures are expected to soar Tuesday after the rain.

CNN’s Sharif Paget, Gene Norman, Derek Van Dam, Haley Brink Jalen Beckford, Angela Fritz and Raja Razek contributed to this report.

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