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Kentucky floods: State braces for heavier rains

More heavy rains were expected Tuesday morning in Kentucky, potentially complicating efforts to find hundreds of people still missing for days after severe flooding killed at least 37 people.

Nearly two million people in parts of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia were on flood watch throughout the morning as fast-moving storms were expected to dump up to two inches of rain an hour , according to the National Weather Service. A flood watch was in effect until 9 a.m. local time for parts of eastern Kentucky and until 8 a.m. for an area of ​​West Virginia that includes Charleston, the state capital.

Rain pouring out of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia will give way to drier conditions through the afternoon, meteorologists said. However, showers and storms could return to parts of Kentucky by Thursday.

Since last week, the worst of the devastation has been concentrated in about half a dozen counties in the Appalachian region of southeastern Kentucky. These communities have already been disrupted by severe damage to homes and families

Much of the same region was at slight risk of excessive precipitation throughout the day Tuesday, while other parts of the Midwest and Deep South were at marginal risk, the Weather Prediction Center said.

A thunderstorm moving southeast across western Kentucky on Monday evening had already produced wind gusts to 60 miles per hour and hailstones the size of silver dollars, the Paducah Weather Service said. in a notice.

The weather service predicted more heavy rain and high winds overnight as a cold front moved southeast toward the central Appalachians from the Ohio Valley. He also warned that excessive runoff in places that had already seen recent heavy rains could potentially produce more “life-threatening flash floods”.

“That’s not what we want to see!” Chris Bailey, a veteran meteorologist from Lexington, Ky., said of the forecast on Twitter. He warned that further rainfall could create “additional flooding problems” as storms moved west to eastern Kentucky overnight.

The prospect of further flooding would be the main concern overnight in eastern Kentucky, the part of the state hardest hit by flooding last week, Gov. Andy Beshear said. said in a Twitter thread late Monday.

This flood, among the worst in the state’s history, left at least 37 dead, Mr. Beshear announcement. He also told a press conference that there were “hundreds of people missing, at a minimum” and that rescue operations had been hampered by impassable roads and washed out bridges.

As rainstorms ripped through the isolated hills and valleys of eastern Kentucky on Monday, rescuers were still trying to get to areas where the floods and landslides they triggered had destroyed infrastructure and cut off cell phone service.

More than 10,000 Kentucky households were without power early Tuesday morning, according to, which aggregates data from utility companies. And in some places, floodwaters again engulfed roads that had reopened to let rescuers through after the first floods last week.

Although the link between climate change and a single flood requires in-depth analysis, most scientists agree that climate change causes more rainfall during many storms.

Derrick Bryson Taylor contributed report.


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