Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reported Saturday that the death toll — including four children — in Appalachian flooding after heavy downpours has risen to at least 25. He added that the number will almost certainly go up and that it could take weeks to find all the flood victims.
“It’s an active natural disaster,” Beshear told Fox News . “We are still in search and rescue. Fortunately, the rain has stopped, but it will rain more from Sunday afternoon.”
Rescue teams continued to struggle to reach hard-hit areas, some of the poorest places in the United States. Rescuers have carried out more than 1,200 rescues from helicopters and boats, the governor said. Beshear, who flew over parts of the affected region on Friday, described the situation as “total devastation, the kind we haven’t seen before.”
“We are committed to a full rebuilding effort to get people back on their feet,” added Beshear. “But for now, we just pray that we don’t lose anyone else.”
The rain stopped Friday morning after parts of Kentucky saw 8 to 10 1/2 inches (20 to 27 centimeters) of rain over 48 hours, but some rivers and creeks were expected to reach their lowest level. elevated until Saturday. Some 18,000 customers in Kentucky were still without power as of Saturday morning, poweroutage.us reported.
It was the latest in a series of catastrophic deluges that this summer have lashed parts of the United States, including St. Louis this week and again on Friday. Scientists warn that global warming is making weather disasters more common.
This week’s downpours sent torrents down hillsides and into valleys, overflowing creeks and other streams that pass by small towns. Floodwaters covered homes and businesses and destroyed vehicles. Several avalanches left some people stranded on steep slopes.
President Joe Biden declared a federal disaster in order to direct funds to more than a dozen counties in Kentucky.
Flooding spread to western Virginia and southern Virginia Occidental.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice declared a state of emergency in six counties as floodwaters toppled trees, caused power outages and blocked roads.
In Virginia, the governor Glenn Youngkin also made an emergency declaration, allowing officials to mobilize resources in the southwestern part of the state.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.