The death toll from last week’s flooding in Kentucky rose to 35 on Monday as the state prepares for more severe weather, including heavy rainfall and damaging winds through Monday evening.
The ground in parts of eastern Kentucky is still saturated from the 8 to 10 1/2 inches of rain that fell in just 48 hours starting on July 26.
Those saturated soils and weakened root systems could lead to trees and power lines falling over, even during sub-severe wind gusts, the National Weather Service said.
Isolated flash flooding is also possible as heavy rainfall moves through eastern Kentucky on Monday evening through the day on Tuesday.
“There is severe storm potential today in all of the impacted areas. That is just not right,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said on Monday morning, calling the storms the “deadliest and the most devastating” that he has ever seen.
First responders, including Kentucky State Police, the National Guard, and volunteers, continued searching for survivors on Monday.
A Kentucky National Guard medevac crew saved a family of five who were trapped in their attic in Wolfe County.
“There are hundreds of unaccounted for people, minimum,” Beshear said.
“We just don’t have a firm grasp on that. I wish we did. There are a lot of reason why it’s nearly impossible. I just want to make sure that we’re not giving either false hope or faulty information.”
President Biden declared a federal disaster last week to federal funds to impacted communities.
Flooding also hit West Virginia and Virginia, prompting the governors of those states to declare a state of emergency for affected counties.