Flooding leads to state of emergency in Kentucky


FRANKFORT KY, (WOWK) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has declared a state of emergency following heavy rainfall across the commonwealth Sunday, Feb. 28.

Due to heavy rain over the weekend, the state remained in either a flood watch or flood warning until early Monday morning. The governor’s office says 13 counties and cities had declared states of emergency including Elliot, Johnson, Pike, Breathitt, Calloway, Casey, Estill, Knott, Magoffin, Owsley, and Perry counties and the cities of Paintsville and Salyersville.

Beshear says the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management State Emergency Operations Center is active and monitoring county emergency services agencies’ reports. The Kentucky National Guard has also been activated and is assisting with high water emergencies.

“By declaring a state of emergency, we can mobilize the state resources needed to support the cities and counties affected by this heavy rainfall,” Beshear said. “We are acting swiftly to ensure the safety and security of Kentucky families and to get the needed help to our communities.”

According to the governor’s office, most of the additional rainfall from the heavy rounds of rain Sunday night is likely to become runoff, which will lead to threats of flash flooding. Areal flooding is also possible near streams, creeks and rivers.

“The impact of extremely heavy rainfall and flash flooding across the commonwealth led to numerous emergency rescues and evacuations in counties from west to east,” said Michael Dossett, director of KYEM. “We’ve experienced flooding in numerous regions. Please be aware of the presence of emergency responders and use caution near the many closed local and state roadways due to high water.”

Beshear’s office says some flood safety tips to follow include:

  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown – Avoid Walking or driving through floodwaters.
  • Do not drive over bridges above fast-moving floodwaters that could scour foundation material around the footings and make the bridge unstable.
  • Remember just six inches of moving water can knock you down and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Move to higher ground immediately if there is a chance of flash flooding.
  • During heavy rainfall, avoid camping or parking near areas that can flood quickly or with little warning such as streams, rivers and creeks.

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