The death toll in the eastern Kentucky floods has risen to 25, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced at a Saturday morning press briefing.
Deaths have been confirmed in five different counties, including “four in Breathitt County; two in Clay County; 14 in Knott County (10 adults and four children); two in Letcher County; and three in Perry County,” the governor’s office said. Beshear noted during his press briefing that the death toll “is likely to rise.”
Areas of eastern Kentucky received up to ten and a half inches of rain for 48 hours leading into Friday, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The governor noted that the rain has stopped since Saturday and it will be dry until Sunday afternoon.
Counties below the Mountain Parkway could see up to an inch or maybe two inches of rain through Monday, Beshear said.
“We continue to pray for the families who have suffered unfathomable loss,” Beshear said. “We are also praying for first responders. This mission has been particularly difficult, and what they experience firsthand is extremely stressful and difficult. We thank everyone involved for their tireless efforts.
Since flooding began earlier this week, first responders in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia have rescued at least 1,432 people on Saturday.
About 18,000 people still remain without power as residents of Breathitt, Knott, Letcher and Perry counties may not receive power until next week.
The Biden administration has declared a federal disaster so relief money can be directed to flood-affected counties, according to The Associated Press (AP).
In Hazard, Kentucky, located in the southeast part of the state, seven of the city’s nine bridges are “impassable,” CNN reported. A Baptist church in the city was also completely destroyed.
A 17-year-old girl in Whitesburg, Kentucky woke up early Thursday morning to flooding waters rushing into her home, prompting her to find her dog and swim in the cold waters to wait on a roof for five hours before his cousin was rescued. them with a kayak, CNN noted.
Flooding also spread to southwest West Virginia and western Virginia, prompting Governor Jim Justice (R) and Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) to declare states of emergency in their respective states, AP noted.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a press release on Friday:
My heart breaks for the families in Kentucky who mourn the loss of loved ones as the flooding continues. Thank you to all the first responders working to prevent further tragedies. I am monitoring this situation and working with federal, state and local authorities to help in any way I can.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said on Twitter Thursday, “If you are a Kentuckian in need of assistance from Federal agencies following the devastating flooding in Eastern Kentucky, you can contact my office.” He added that he was “[p]beaming to all who are affected.
You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.