Heavier rains were expected Tuesday morning across much of Kentucky, potentially complicating efforts to rescue hundreds of people still missing for days after severe flooding that killed at least 37 people.
Flood watches were in effect until 9 a.m. Tuesday in an area of eastern Kentucky where hundreds of thousands of people live, as well as until 8 a.m. for an area in West Virginia which includes Charleston, the state capital. Flood watches for Cincinnati and other parts of southern Ohio were set to expire at 4 a.m.
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, a National Weather bureau said. Service in Paducah in one 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 homes were still without power early Tuesday morning, according to poweroutage.us. 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.