In this rural part of Kentucky, it’s easy to see how so much rain in such a short time can be so devastating.
The topography is perfect for flash floods. Steep hillsides, narrow valleys. And some of the poorest communities in America living in this beautiful part of the central United States.
From the air, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear soaked up the damage below – he watched one community among many where they will have to start over, if they survived.
The number known not to have done so continues to rise – victims of the flash floods that submerged these small Appalachian towns in minutes. And from everyone, the same reaction: they have never seen anything like this before.
The rain had fallen overnight.
So, so fast, there was little or no time to escape.
Whole houses, which weren’t built to withstand anything like that, were lifted up and moved.
“It’s bad. It really is,” local firefighter Glenn Caudil said.
“I’ve been a firefighter for almost 27 years and this is the worst I’ve ever seen. People missing, probably 95% of the people in this area here have lost everything. Homes, cars, animals. C It’s heartbreaking. It’s true.”
Dozens of people were airlifted from isolated homes. And it’s not just floods, but also mudslides. Hundreds of houses were destroyed.
This is another unprecedented. catastrophic weather event. Once again, entire communities have been wiped out. And his entire dreaded families too.
“We had to swim. And it was cold, it was over my head, so it was scary,” local resident Rachel Patton said.
Roads have been washed out, power lines are cut, water supply is cut off and mobile signal in places has been cut. All of this makes the rescue effort much more difficult.
President Biden has now declared it a major disaster, freeing up federal funds and personnel. It’s only been seven months since he did the same for the same state after tornadoes ripped through that place.
For now, the focus is on rescue, they hope more will be found alive, but the death toll could double. And more rain is expected on Sunday.