Kentucky death toll rises to 26 amid new flood threat

Hindman, Q. (AP) — The death toll from heavy flooding in Kentucky continued to rise on Sunday amid a new threat of more heavy rain.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the death toll from last week’s hurricane had risen from one to 26.

Beshear said the numbers were likely to rise significantly and that it could take weeks to find all the victims. At least 37 people were unaccounted for, according to a daily briefing by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

On top of that, more flash floods are likely in parts of Appalachia on Sunday and Monday, as the latest storms arrive, the National Weather Service said. One to two inches of rain was possible in some submerged areas last week.

According to FEMA, a dozen shelters were open for flood victims in Kentucky with 388 people on Sunday.

Beshear said state police are taking calls from worried people who can’t locate loved ones because of spotty cell phone service.

“We still can’t go to some areas to check on people,” Beshear said. “We’re doubling down on our National Guard. We’re going to go door-to-door, working to find as many people as we can. We’re going to work through the rain as well. But the weather is making it complicated.”

On a cold morning in the town of Hindman, about 200 miles (322 kilometers) southeast of Louisville, a crew cleared debris piled up along a storefront. Nearby, a vehicle was parked upside down in Troublesome Creek, which is now back within its rubble-filled shores.

With the threat of more rain, the workers toiled non-stop through the mud-paved sidewalks and roads.

Tom Jackson, one of the workers, said, “We’ll be here until there’s a deluge.”

Jackson was with a crew from Corbin, Kentucky, where he is the city’s recycling director, about a two-hour drive from Hindman.

His crew worked all day on Saturday, and the mud and debris was so thick that they managed to clear one-eighth of the road. The water had flowed down the hills and was so forceful that it rattled the road signs.

“I’ve never seen water like this,” Jackson said.

In Nott County, Teresa Perry Reynolds’ home was flooded with water and mud. She and her husband may have taken refuge in their 44-foot travel trailer, but it was washed away by floodwaters.

“I have clothes on my back,” she said Saturday about what they could save.

After searching for a day and a half, they found her husband’s purse. On Thursday, when he went to the neighbor’s house after escaping from the rapidly rising water, he was left behind. A team of volunteers pulled out the debris from his house on Saturday.

She and her husband are staying with friends. She is a retired teacher and her husband is a retired school administrator.

“All I know is that I am homeless and that I have people taking care of me,” she said.

Parts of eastern Kentucky received rain early Friday after receiving between 8 and 10 1/2 inches (20-27 cm) of rain in 48 hours. poweroutage.us reported that about 13,000 utility customers in Kentucky were without power on Sunday.

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

Last week’s flooding extended to West Virginia, where Governor Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for six southern counties, and in Virginia, where Governor Glenn Youngkin also declared an emergency, prompting officials in the southwest portion of the floodplain. Enabled to mobilize resources. State.

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Associated Press writer John Raby contributed to this report from Charleston, West Virginia.

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