Kentucky floods death toll rises to EIGHT and will likely reach double figures, governor says

Kentucky floods death toll rises to EIGHT and will likely reach double figures, state governor says as he warns of more heavy rain tonight and asks Biden for federal assistance

  • Eight people are now known to have died since Eastern Kentucky was hit by 10 inches of rain in the early hours of Thursday
  • Andy Beshear, the governor of Kentucky, said the disaster caused by flooding was ‘ongoing’ and the death toll expected to rise
  • He said 20-30 people had been airlifted to safety, and that crews were working to reconnect power and drinking water 
  • Photos on social media showed towns underwater and pleas for donations to help those affected
  • Beshear warned that more rain was expected and said the situation was expected to worsen 

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At least eight people in Kentucky have died following ‘catastrophic and historic’ flash flooding – with meteorologists warning that more rain is expected on Thursday night. 

Andy Beshear, the governor of Kentucky, said on Thursday afternoon that they expect the death toll to rise, and asked Joe Biden for federal assistance.

‘Tonight we need your continued prayers for the people of Eastern Kentucky,’ he said.

‘This is an ongoing disaster that continues to put people in danger, and it looks like we will have more rain tonight that may worsen the situation in many places. 

‘Our death toll is growing by the end we expect it will be in double digits.’ 

He tweeted: ‘Today I made a direct request to @POTUS for federal assistance to respond to the devastating flooding in Eastern Kentucky. 

‘The damage suffered is enormous and recovery will be a long-term effort. This assistance is critical to our efforts and essential for our people.’  

Beshear said in a video posted to YouTube that ‘a lot of families out there have lost absolutely everything’.

Twenty to 30 people have been airlifted to safety, he said. 

The mega storms the swept across the state overnight and into Thursday morning, dumping up to 10 inches of rain.

Andy Beshear, the governor of Kentucky, on Thursday evening warned that the situation was likely to get worse in his state due to flooding

Andy Beshear, the governor of Kentucky, on Thursday evening warned that the situation was likely to get worse in his state due to flooding

Aerial view of homes submerged under flood waters from the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Kentucky, on Thursday

Aerial view of homes submerged under flood waters from the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Kentucky, on Thursday

Roads and houses are seen engulfed by the surging flood waters on Thursday in Jackson, KY

Roads and houses are seen engulfed by the surging flood waters on Thursday in Jackson, KY

Cristopher Howard carries plants from his garden in Jackson on Thursday

Cristopher Howard carries plants from his garden in Jackson on Thursday

The Stivers family rest on cots, in the Hazard Community & Technical College, where survivors of the major flooding are being taken for shelter in Breathitt County, Kentucky. The Stivers were airlifted from their roof after the father, Chad hammered a hole in the roof to climb out

The Stivers family rest on cots, in the Hazard Community & Technical College, where survivors of the major flooding are being taken for shelter in Breathitt County, Kentucky. The Stivers were airlifted from their roof after the father, Chad hammered a hole in the roof to climb out

Beshear said that they were battling to restore power to areas where the electricity had been knocked out, and they were shipping water to regions which had their water cut off.

Officials confirmed that an 81-year-old woman and another resident of Perry County died in the flooding, as well as one more person in Knott County.

‘We are experiencing one of the worst, most devastating flooding events in Kentucky’s history,’ Beshear said during a news conference earlier on Thursday. 

‘We are asking everybody to pray. A lot of people are really scared right now.’

He tweeted: ‘The flooding that has hit Eastern Kentucky is absolutely devastating and there is even more rain expected. Like the tornadoes, helping our families rebuild and recover is going to be a long, hard process. If you can, donate to help those impacted.’

One man shared dramatic footage of his hometown submerged under flood water.

‘My hometown of Whitesburg, Kentucky and the surrounding areas are currently undergoing their worst flood in history,’ he wrote. 

‘Please, please donate if you can. This area is extremely impoverished and very unstable. My heart is breaking.’

A house in Jackson is pictured under water on Thursday

A house in Jackson is pictured under water on Thursday

An abandoned pickup is inundated by the floodwater in Jackson

An abandoned pickup is inundated by the floodwater in Jackson

Dramatic drone footage over Hindman, one of the hardest hit cities in eastern Kentucky, shows several homes and buildings almost completely submerged by the flooding, with only their rooftops of some visible. 

Beshear said that hundreds of families were likely displaced by the floods and that first responders were focused on the eastern Kentucky, where the floods hit the hardest and have left more than 20,000 residents without power and some ‘stranded on their rooftops.’ 

He added that several teachers and staff were also trapped inside schools in the area.

The director of Breathitt County’s emergency management, Chris Friley, who is overseeing the damage in one of the hardest hits areas, said on Thursday that the damage went beyond what previous flooding had done in recent years. 

‘It’s the worst we’ve had in quite a while,’ he said. ‘There’s several spots that are still not accessible to rescue crews.’ 

Drone footage over Hindman (above), one of the hardest hit cities in eastern Kentucky, shows several homes and buildings almost completely submerged by the flash floods that hit the state on Wednesday night

Drone footage over Hindman (above), one of the hardest hit cities in eastern Kentucky, shows several homes and buildings almost completely submerged by the flash floods that hit the state on Wednesday night

Entire parts of the city were left inaccessible as the waters submerged the roads and carried cars away

Entire parts of the city were left inaccessible as the waters submerged the roads and carried cars away 

The scene is among the worst in the eastern half of the state, which saw the most devastation from the flooding

The scene is among the worst in the eastern half of the state, which saw the most devastation from the flooding 

Gov. Andy Beshear said deaths and a full toll of the devastation are expected to be reported in the coming hours after mega storms across the state dumped up to 10 inches of rain overnight and into Thursday morning

Gov. Andy Beshear said deaths and a full toll of the devastation are expected to be reported in the coming hours after mega storms across the state dumped up to 10 inches of rain overnight and into Thursday morning

Rescue crews were seen deploying boat rescues throughout eastern Kentucky, which was hit the hardest by the storms

Rescue crews were seen deploying boat rescues throughout eastern Kentucky, which was hit the hardest by the storms

The rainfall submerged streets throughout the state, sweeping away cars and trapping residents in their homes

The rainfall submerged streets throughout the state, sweeping away cars and trapping residents in their homes

In a news conference on Thursday morning, Beshear said hundreds of families were likely displaced by the floods, and that it would likely take many years for some residents to rebuild and recover

In a news conference on Thursday morning, Beshear said hundreds of families were likely displaced by the floods, and that it would likely take many years for some residents to rebuild and recover

Homes in the area have become swamped in murky rainwater and swollen rivers are sweeping away cars

Homes in the area have become swamped in murky rainwater and swollen rivers are sweeping away cars

Pictured: Jackson Branch Road in Clay County is completely flooded with cars and vans almost completely submerged

Pictured: Jackson Branch Road in Clay County is completely flooded with cars and vans almost completely submerged 

The streets in eastern Kentucky are flooded with lashings of rain after flash floods struck the state overnight

The streets in eastern Kentucky are flooded with lashings of rain after flash floods struck the state overnight

Homes in the state have become swamped in murky rainwater and swollen rivers are sweeping away cars

Homes in the state have become swamped in murky rainwater and swollen rivers are sweeping away cars

The powerful storms and flash floods were  so severe that it has knocked out power for more than 20,000 customers according to WYMT. 

The devastation was recapped by local reporters and meteorologist who said that the floods would, without a doubt, be recorded as the worst in the state’s history.   

‘We are dealing with a catastrophic and historic flash flooding situation in parts of the region,’ WYMT reporter Steve Hensley said on Twitter. 

‘I’ve never seen water come off the hill behind my house like this. There are people trapped and homes and roads flooded. A flash flood emergency continues for several counties. I pray nobody has lost their life. I’m afraid the devastation we will see after daybreak will be significant.’ 

Chris Bailey, WKYT’s chief meteorologist said: ‘I don’t have the words to describe the amount of devastation daylight will uncover across eastern Kentucky. 

‘This is likely to go down as one of the worst flash flood events to ever hit the state.’

Pictured: An entire courtyard is seen submerged by the flooding that struck on Wednesday night

Pictured: An entire courtyard is seen submerged by the flooding that struck on Wednesday night 

A shaved ice stand was knocked over by the storm and is seen floating on its side in the high waters

A shaved ice stand was knocked over by the storm and is seen floating on its side in the high waters

Homes across the state were submerged underwater due to the severe flooding that continued into Thursday

Homes across the state were submerged underwater due to the severe flooding that continued into Thursday

Mudslides have been recorded across the worst hit areas as the rain causes floods and rivers to overflow

Mudslides have been recorded across the worst hit areas as the rain causes floods and rivers to overflow

Debris and trash are pictured floating in the waters over a submerged road in Kentucky

Debris and trash are pictured floating in the waters over a submerged road in Kentucky

Chris Bailey, WKYT's chief meteorologist said: 'I don't have the words to describe the amount of devastation daylight will uncover across eastern Kentucky'

Chris Bailey, WKYT’s chief meteorologist said: ‘I don’t have the words to describe the amount of devastation daylight will uncover across eastern Kentucky’

The flooding left many roads inaccessible last night, with officials warning residents to keep off the roads on Thursday

The flooding left many roads inaccessible last night, with officials warning residents to keep off the roads on Thursday

Officials expect it to take years for parts of the state to fully recover from the wreckage

Officials expect it to take years for parts of the state to fully recover from the wreckage

Emergency workers are traveling through less flooded roads in order to reach residents trapped inside homes and schools

Emergency workers are traveling through less flooded roads in order to reach residents trapped inside homes and schools

Floyd County has announced a state of emergency due to the severe flash floods which have hit Kentucky overnight

Floyd County has announced a state of emergency due to the severe flash floods which have hit Kentucky overnight 

The storm as flooded roadways and toppled trees as more than 200,000 residents are without power

The storm as flooded roadways and toppled trees as more than 200,000 residents are without power

There are countless severe weather warnings in place all over the state and in Breathitt County the courthouse has been opened as a shelter for people displaced by the floods

There are countless severe weather warnings in place all over the state and in Breathitt County the courthouse has been opened as a shelter for people displaced by the floods

Breathitt County courthouse has been opened as a shelter for people displaced by the floods. 

The county’s emergency department said: ‘Many roadways in the county are becoming covered with water and are impassable. Please stay off the roads if at all possible tonight.

‘The courthouse is open at this time for those displaced by rising waters if you don’t have another place to go.’

Rowan County teacher Allison Slone said in a social media post: ‘Please pray for the people of eastern Kentucky. 

‘Our friends and family are losing everything. I’ve never seen flooding like I’m seeing in pictures. Complete devastation in some areas. People trapped. Homes flooding that have never flooded. People and homes being washed away.’

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