Southeast Kentucky Hit Hard By Weekend Flooding

Feb 13, 2018

Credit DAVID BENBENNICK, WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, PUBLIC DOMAIN

Citizens in nine southeast Kentucky counties are beginning to assess the impact of widespread weekend flooding. 

Five inches of rain fell over a 24 hour period in portions of Kentucky.  The affected counties include Harlan, Perry, Knox, Knott, and Letcher.  Harlan was among the hardest hit. Harlan County Judge Dan Mosely said residents of the Tremont community were affected.

“Basically the tile that goes from a community to the river, the water couldn’t get out because the water was so high.  And, it created like a dam affect.” Mosley said.

Mosely said water got into more than ten homes, but none were knocked off their foundation.

“We did have a building that was spotted floating down the river, but no one has seemed to come forward to say where that came from at this point in time. We still don’t know the whereabouts of where it ended up, what was in it, or what was in it.” Mosley said.

He said much of the damage occurred along roads and bridges and that there were a number of people rescued from vehicles submerged in water.

Mosely said at one point, several hundred people were without power. He said there were no fatalities in the Harlan community.

He said some 300 water customers had no service- as repair crews couldn’t get to the flooded water line.

Kentucky Division of Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said these kinds of weather events are becoming more commonplace.

“Quite frankly, this is the new normal, and by that, I mean, Many times now you are seeing all over the country, we’ll get a frontal boundary, and it will stall.” Dossett said. 

Dossett said the weekend system put down 5 inches of rain over a 24 hour period in the hard hit areas. He said damage estimates should be compiled by about midweek.

If total damages exceed $6.2 million,  local communities could be eligible for federal emergency assistance.