Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency on Sunday evening, Feb. 28, due to extremely heavy rainfall across the commonwealth throughout the weekend. The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management State Emergency Operations Center is activated and monitoring reports from county emergency services agencies.
“By declaring a state of emergency, we can mobilize the state resources needed to support the cities and counties affected by this heavy rainfall,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are acting swiftly to ensure the safety and security of Kentucky families and to get the needed help to our communities.”
The entire commonwealth received heavy rainfall over the weekend and remained in either a flood watch or flood warning until early Monday morning. This morning, a total of 13 counties and cities have declared states of emergency, including Breathitt, Calloway, Casey, Elliott, Estill, Johnson, Knott, Magoffin, Owsley, Perry and Pike counties and the cities of Paintsville and Salyersville.
The Kentucky National Guard has been activated and is responding to assist with high water emergencies.
Rounds of heavy rain occurred Sunday night. Most of this additional rainfall is likely to become runoff, leading to the threat of flash flooding. In addition, areal flooding of streams and creeks is likely, along with additional instances of river flooding.
“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. “The Governor’s state of emergency activated the National Guard, and we have been coordinating requests for assistance from counties across the state.”
Dossett added: “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.”
Some basic safety tips for flooding awareness:
- Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters – TURN AROUND. DON’T DROWN!
- Do not drive over bridges that are above fast-moving floodwaters. Floodwaters can scour foundation material from around the footings and make the bridge unstable.
- Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 1 foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
- Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.