More flooding expected in Kentucky
Heavy rains were expected to produce further flooding in already saturated eastern Kentucky on Monday, days after flash flooding in the area killed at least 28 people and left dozens missing.
An avalanche of rain since last week has soaked the ground and made it unable to absorb more. The floods caused mudslides and caused creeks, streams and rivers to overflow. Bridges have collapsed, isolating communities, and houses have been torn from their foundations. The death toll is expected to rise as search and rescue operations resume on Monday. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday morning that 37 people were missing.
Forecasters said a cold front would drift over the eastern part of the state, bringing more downpours that could last through Tuesday. The National Weather Service in Jackson, Ky., said the effects of the rainfall could be “severe” north of Interstate 64, which runs through northern Kentucky and the town of Lexington.
In some of Kentucky’s eastern counties, rainfall of up to two inches per hour at times could cause flash flooding with runoff overflowing overflowing waterways until around noon local time, a said the weather service.
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. At least 14 people have died in Knott County. Clay, Perry and Letcher counties are struggling, officials said. In some areas, like Breathitt County, communities were trying to recover from previous flooding.
“The ground is saturated,” Breathitt County attorney Brendon D. Miller said on the county’s emergency management Facebook page Sunday night. “We don’t need a lot of rain. But hope and pray that we get a reprieve and that there isn’t much rain that will affect us.
“It’s been a trying week” since Wednesday afternoon, he added.
The same weather system that flooded parts of eastern Kentucky with up to 12 inches of rain last week has also spread to parts of Tennessee, said Sam Shamburger, a Weather Service meteorologist.
“There were waves of rain that moved through both states,” he said. “Unfortunately, Kentucky was hit hardest by the heavy rains and saw all the really severe flooding.”
But the storms are expected to subside, he said.
Around the Nashville area of northern Tennessee, up to three inches of rain has fallen over the past week, with up to six inches in the east. “But that’s still far less than the extreme amounts Eastern Kentucky has seen,” Mr. Shamburger said. “Some areas might pick up an inch or more, but like Kentucky, they could dry out starting Tuesday.”
In West Virginia, strong to severe thunderstorms and damaging winds were expected in Ohio’s Central Valley, which follows the Ohio River along the state’s northwest border, starting Monday afternoon. and possibly until Tuesday morning, the weather service in Charleston, W.Va., said.
In Missouri, where flash floods hit the St. Louis area last week, breaking a century-old rainfall record, the worst seemed to be over. Scattered storms in eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois could drop less than a half-inch of rain over the next 24 hours, said Weather Service meteorologist Mark Britt.