At least 25 people died in the floods that hit Kentucky, a number expected to rise further, the state’s governor said.
Finding out the extent of flood damage can take weeks. Many regions remain disconnected from the rest of the state.
Further rains are forecast for early next week, meaning rescuers need to move quickly.
“We need to act quickly after the water recedes tomorrow, certainly before it rains again,” Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, said Friday, according to The New York Times.
Breathitt County Executive Judge Jeffrey Noble told the newspaper that storms and flooding disrupted phone service for miles. He added that major roads in Jackson, the county seat, remained clogged.
“They say around 250 people are missing,” Mr Noble said. “I don’t even want to talk about the dead. I heard two different numbers, and I hope they are both wrong.
The local chief said he was troubled by the stories he heard from others and the things he witnessed with his own eyes, such as a truck he saw being slowly swallowed by the waters in the middle of the night .
“Homes are washed away, communities are washed away, roads are washed away,” he said. The New York Times. “I’ve heard of century-old floods, but it’s way beyond that. In the history of Kentucky, our county has never seen anything like it.
The number of deaths increased several times on Friday – Jerry Stacy, the director of emergency management for Perry County, said their death toll rose from one to four by evening.
Breathitt County Coroner Hargis Epperson added that at least three people were found dead in the county. At least 12 people were missing.
Knott County Coroner Corey Watson worked in a large garage at an area funeral home. He told the newspaper that the death toll in his area rose from 11 to 14 during the day on Friday.
“There are still people missing,” he said.
At least six children, including four from the same family, are among those who died.
Brittany Trejo, a relative of the four children, said they were all found within 50 yards of each other. She says she was taken by “water rage”.
“They were such loving, caring and well-behaved young children,” Ms Trejo said. The temperature. “They liked the things that all kids enjoy.”
Mr. Beshear told reporters that the National Guard, state police, as well as other state-level agencies were assisting in search and rescue efforts, which Friday included about 50 air rescues and hundreds by boat.
He added that nearly 300 people had been rescued in the state so far, with around 100 of them rescued by air.
Jeff Hawkins has lived in Letcher County for 52 years.
“I’ve spoken to several people in the past few days who were in their 70s, 80s and none of them remember anything like that,” he told the newspaper.
The Independent Gt