Kentucky flooding devastates eastern counties

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Flash flood emergencies were still in effect for parts of eastern Kentucky after thunderstorms dumped torrential rain in the region early Thursday. 

Residents were left stranded in their homes and vehicles as floodwaters rose and outage tracker PowerOutage.US showed 21,408 customers without power in the state.

The National Weather Service in Jackson said that more heavy rain is occurring over parts of Breathitt, Perry, Owsley, Knott, Clay and Letcher counties. 

“DO NOT venture out if you live in these areas. This is a VERY DANGEROUS situation,” it warned.

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In Owsley, a person wrote on the emergency management Facebook that a “huge tree” was blocking a roadway.

The flooded elementary school in Buckhorn, Kentucky 

The flooded elementary school in Buckhorn, Kentucky  (@JohnnyRayFeltn1)

Breathitt County Sheriff John Hollan shared videos of flooding around homes, as well as his prayers for everyone’s safety.

He warned people against driving. 

The county emergency management page warned people to stay alert and be ready to move to higher ground.

“Rescue crews have been out but cannot reach several areas due to swift water over roadways,” it said.

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Roads there were reportedly impassable and the county’s courthouse was open for those displaced by rising waters.

“I don’t have the words to describe the amount of devastation daylight will uncover across eastern Kentucky,” WKYT chief meteorologist Chris Bailey tweeted Thursday. “This is likely to go down as one of the worst flash flood events to ever hit the state.”

According to FOX Weather, emergencies have been issued around the towns of Hazard, Buckhorn and McRoberts and water rescues were underway.

Flooding in Floyd County, Kentucky on Wednesday

Flooding in Floyd County, Kentucky on Wednesday (Floyd County Sheriff’s Department)

In Buckhorn, a photo shared on Twitter showed the elementary school was almost completely inundated.

FOX 56’s Chris Johnson wrote on Twitter that he was getting reports someone had been trapped inside Buckhorn School’s gymnasium.

The station said nearly 7 inches of rain fell in Hazard since Tuesday, with other areas in eastern Kentucky receiving between 4 and 7 inches.

Gov. Andy Beshear wrote warning Kentuckians to be “weather-aware.” 

Rain still forecast in the Kentucky area

Rain still forecast in the Kentucky area (Fox News)

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“Heavy rain is expected across the commonwealth through Friday, with possible flooding in the eastern part of the state. Please stay alert and take all precautions to keep yourself and others safe,” he said. 

Earlier Wednesday, he said that officials in Floyd County had declared a local state of emergency due to significant rainfall and flooding

The highest threat of flash flooding on Thursday will extend from Kentucky into West Virginia.

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