Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said Friday morning the death toll has risen to 15 after torrential rains flooded eastern Kentucky, destroying hundreds of homes and killing several people.
Search and rescue teams, with the help of the National Guard, searched for missing people on Friday after record flooding swept through the region. The governor declared a state of emergency.
Beshear told the The Bharat Express News before touring the disaster area that the 15 deaths in Kentucky also include children, “but I expect that number will be more than double, probably even today.”
More rain was expected on Friday and more than 15 centimeters of rain fell in some provinces Wednesday night to Thursday over the weekend. Meteorologist Brandon Bonds of the National Weather Service in Jackson said it won’t take much more rain to “do any more damage.” A flood watch or warning was expected to remain in effect for many of the areas that have experienced the worst flooding.
“We expect more storms to develop over the weekend,” he said Thursday afternoon.
‘Not seen the worst’:At least 8 dead, more missing in Eastern Kentucky floods
Here’s what we know about the floods, rescue efforts and more.
Kentucky Flood Map: Which Areas Are Affected?
While rain was reported in several areas around the state, the flooding occurred in eastern Kentucky, in counties near the Virginia and West Virginia borders.
Cities reportedly hardest hit include Hazard, Jackson, Garrett, Salyersville, Booneville, Whitesburg and the rest of Perry County.
The stretch of the Kentucky River in Jackson reached its highest ever, at 43.2 feet, according to the National Weather Service in Jackson as of 6 a.m. Friday. That mark broke a record in 1939 when the height of the river reached 43.1 feet.
How many people have been saved?
Rescue efforts were underway, with Kentuckians trapped in schools and homes in the region. The National Guard has been mobilized to assist people in multiple counties in the eastern part of the Commonwealth.
Beshear said between 20 and 30 people were rescued by air on Thursday by rescue teams with the Kentucky State Police and the National Guards of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Beshear declared a state of emergency across the state in the wake of the floods and said multiple locations would be opened across the state for people in need of assistance, food and shelter.
How to help those affected by floods?
Beshear asked people who can contribute to donate items or funds. Donors should focus on water and cleaning products for the time being.
Organizations have started collecting money needed to send money to the families hardest hit by the floods.