Kentucky Floods Death Toll Rises to 25, Governor Says Number ‘Likely to Increase’

by Emily Morgan

The death toll in Kentucky following the disastrous flooding has risen to 25 and is likely to grow, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in a tweet on Saturday.

The tragic news comes one day after Beshear and other state officials predicted the count would rise from earlier statistics taken after unprecedented rainfall led to devastating flooding on Wednesday and Thursday.

According to reports, Saturday will likely reveal more tallies as the state continues recovery efforts in its eastern Appalachian region.

First responders have rescued at least 300 Kentuckians since the search began. They now hope to access other flooded communities soon.

In addition, Beshear warned of what rescuers may find in their search.

“Our death toll has risen to 25 lost, and that number is likely to increase,” Beshear solemnly wrote. “We are still in the search and rescue phase.”

Current weather reports call for no rain Saturday, yet responders must move quickly as meteorologists forecast 1 to 2 inches of additional rain on Sunday.

The torrential downpour affected a vast region of mountainous Eastern Kentucky, impacting nearly a dozen counties with a combined land area roughly the same size as Connecticut.

On Saturday, American Electric Power, a primary provider in Eastern Kentucky, said 16,000 customers were without power.

In addition, many are without water as two community water systems are offline. Moreso, 21 more are limiting operations due to flooding or power outages.

As of Friday, ten shelters had taken in more than 330 residents. In addition, more than a dozen aircraft and 20 high-axle military vehicles were assisting with rescue operations in the region. According to officials, responders rescued at least 119 residents via airlift.

First responders have crucial break in rainfall to rescue Kentucky residents from floods

Meteorologist Alan Auglis revealed that parts of the state received more than 10 inches of rain over the past week.

As a result, the state saw historic flooding on waterways like the North Fork of the Kentucky River, with a record crest of 41.4 feet.

On Friday, water had yet to recede in many devastated areas. However, a break in rainfall on Saturday could provide a critical window in rescues.

Yet, additional storms could bring as much as 1 to 2 inches of rainfall beginning Sunday afternoon and through Monday. However, the storm is expected to move through without stopping as it did in Thursday’s flooding, said Ed Ray, a local meteorologist.

However, according to Ray, those forecasts could change as it draws closer, and some areas could see higher rainfall.

“Because we’ve taken such a hard hit already, it isn’t going to take much to cause more problems,” Ray said. “Any rain you get just adds insult to injury.”