Gov. Beshear declares state of emergency due to severe flooding in eastern Ky.

At least 3 people are dead in eastern Ky. due to flooding in the area.
Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 10:58 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2022 at 4:18 PM CDT
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EASTERN, Ky. (KFVS) - Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency due to severe flooding in the eastern part of the state.

He declared the state of emergency on Thursday morning, July 28.

“This was a tough night and maybe an even tougher morning for so many of our residents,” the governor said. “We are currently experiencing one of the worst, most devastating flooding events in Kentucky’s history. The situation is dynamic and ongoing. In most places we are not seeing receding water – in fact, in most places it has not crested yet. What we are going to see coming out of this is massive property damage and we expect loss of life. Hundreds will lose their homes. And this will be yet another event that will take not months, but years, for our families to rebuild and recover from.”

He added, “I also want to tell the people of Eastern Kentucky that we are going to be there for them. You are important and we want to help. This is what we do as Kentuckians – we help each other out.”

Earlier on Thursday morning, the governor spoke to local officials, emergency management directors, the Kentucky National Guard, cabinet leadership and the CEO of the American Red Cross at the State Emergency Operations Center.

According to the governor’s office, at least six counties have declared local states of emergency.

The governor mobilized the Kentucky National Guard, which has 15-20 high-axle vehicles that can pass through the flooded roads to help deliver supplies and rescue people. They are also staging three helicopters.

The governor’s office said some people are currently stranded on their roofs; and state and local agencies are working to identify and rescue them.

They said there are a number of people unaccounted for.

In addition, the governor said the Kentucky State Police, as well as emergency management teams, are active and responding. They have an extra helicopter that can be used as needed.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is responding and preparing for debris removal, as is the Division of Forestry.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is helping with water rescues.

Later on Thursday, the governor will share a list of shelters.

He said more than 23,000 households are currently without power, and the state is working with multiple cell service providers to restore service.

Many communities in the impacted areas will lose water temporarily, according to the governor’s office. They said truckloads of water were ordered and are headed to eastern Kentucky.

“I’m asking everyone to pray. There are a lot of people out there who need help and are very scared right now. And we’re doing the very best we can to reach each and every one of them,” Governor Beshear said.

The governor’s office shared these steps to keep yourself safe after flooding:

  • Watch your step. Floodwaters often hide sharp and dangerous debris, like broken glass and metal. Floodwater can also be contaminated with oil, gasoline or sewage.
  • Wear the appropriate protective clothing and gear such as boots, gloves and safety glasses when moving debris.
  • Stay away from electrical utility equipment after a storm, or if it is wet, to prevent being electrocuted. Report any utility issues to your local utility company.
  • Flooded homes are hazards. Get a professional to check for loose wires, mold and hidden damage before re-entering.
  • Use generators or other gas-powered machinery only outdoors and away from windows.
  • Never drive into a road covered with flowing water. One foot of flowing water can sweep a car off the road; 2 feet will carry away an SUV or pickup. Even 6 inches of water can knock you off your feet. Never walk or drive through swift water. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
  • Respect barricades and posted signage. If you encounter a flooded road, turn around. You’re not only putting your own life at risk, but also the lives of first responders.
  • If you encounter a dark traffic signal, treat it as a four-way stop.

The governor also announced a new online portal for those wishing to make donations to eastern Kentucky victims.

The site, TeamEKYFloodReliefFund.ky.gov, will allow Kentuckians once again to help their neighbors in a time of desperate need.

Funds will be used to provide long-term relief to individuals directly impacted by this historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky.

For more information about KYEM, visit kyem.ky.gov.

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