Kentucky Flooding: Search And Rescue Efforts Continue As The Death Toll Rises ~ August 1, 2022


At a Glance

  • At least four children have died, according to the governor.
  • A federal disaster declaration was issued for 13 counties.
  • Search and rescue efforts were ongoing.

The death toll rose to at least 26 Sunday in Kentucky after major flooding that left residents trapped on rooftops and entire communities under water.

Dozens of roads are blocked by debris, hundreds of people have been rescued and search efforts were ongoing.

Here are our updates (all times are listed in EDT).

(Sunday 9:04 a.m.) Additional Death Confirmed, More Likely

G​overnor Andy Beshear announced that officials have confirmed one additional death from the recent eastern Kentucky flooding, bringing the total death toll to 26. He said that state officials know of additional bodies, but have not been able to officially confirm more deaths.

W​ater is the most needed donation item as of now.

(Saturday 12:00 p.m.) Rescue Efforts Continue, More Rain Upcoming

Impacted parts of eastern Kentucky are still focused on search and rescue — rebuilding may not begin for weeks, according to Governor Andy Beshear. Those that are safe are being urged to take steps to ensure their ongoing safety. More rain is expected to arrive Sunday in some of the same already hard-hit areas.

“​If you’re still with us, we want you to stay with us,” Beshear said in a live-streamed update Saturday.

The death toll remains at 25, but it is expected to rise as cell phone service is restored. Officials have not been able to verify all reported deaths because they have no way to communicate with people in some areas.

S​ix children were originally reported as dead, but Governor Beshear says that number is now four. Two deaths were erroneously reported as being children and were later found to have been adults. The overall death count is not impacted by this new information, however.

O​ver 600 air rescues and over 750 water rescues have been completed. Many are still missing.

T​he Kentucky State Police has opened hotlines to report a missing person. There are five hotlines dedicated to several affected counties.

(Team Kentucky)

T​he state has opened 15 emergency shelters. Several state parks are offering available rooms to displace people, though most are already taken. Camping is available at open state parks and the state is working to open some damaged state parks to house displaced people.

M​any water systems are partially or completely out of service either due to floodwater complications or the lack of electrical service. Over 29,000 water connections that are receiving water are yielding water that must be boiled before use. As many as 17,000 are without power. About 700 natural gas connections are not receiving natural gas.

A​t least ten bridges remain closed.

T​he Panbowl Lake dam that was feared to breach due to the floods, and the area near the dam that was evacuated, have been determined to no longer be immediately in danger. The water level behind the dam has dropped 10 feet and virtually zero leaks have been detected.

Beshear announced that the state’s flood relief fund had raised over $684,000. He also announced that some of that would be used to ensure funeral costs were covered for those who died in the flooding.

(Saturday 10:17 a.m.) Governor Andy Beshear Confirms At Least 25 Dead

T​he number of dead has risen to at least 25 according to a tweet from Governor Andy Beshear. Beshear said the death toll is likely to increase.

(Friday 5:49 p.m.) Photos Show The Damage Left Behind As Waters Recede In Appalachia

Click here, or through the gallery below, to see more.

Teresa Reynolds sits exhausted as members of her community clean the debris from their flood ravaged homes at Ogden Hollar in Hindman, Ky., Saturday, July 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Teresa Reynolds sits exhausted as members of her community clean the debris from their flood ravaged homes at Ogden Hollar in Hindman, Ky., Saturday, July 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

(Friday 4:46 p.m.) Death Toll Rises In Knott County

The number of confirmed dead in Knott County now sits at 14, Coroner Corey Watson told in a phone call.

Death tolls in other counties, according to an update today from Gov. Andy Beshear are: one in Perry County, two in Letcher County and two in Clay County.

(Friday 3:44 p.m.) Crews Working To Reach People Before More Rain Moves In

Search and rescue efforts are ongoing, and crews are working to get to people as soon as they can, especially with more rain the forecast after tomorrow.

More than 300 people had been rescued as of this morning, with assets from several agencies including the National Guard personnel and equipment from Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.

(Friday 3:19 p.m.) Flash Flooding Is A Sudden Danger. Here’s What You Should Do To Stay Safe.

A flash flood is one that happens suddenly, usually in the span of an hour, but sometimes in just minutes.

In much of the U.S., it happens most often in summer, and the Appalachians are especially vulnerable.

As we’ve seen in eastern Kentucky, flash flooding is incredibly dangerous. senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman compiled some important safety tips here.


(Friday 2:39 p.m.) Bodies Of Four Children Recovered

The bodies of four children are among the victims recovered from the flooding.

Gov. Andy Beshear made the announcement at an afternoon press briefing. Beshear said they were the same children swept from their parent’s arms in Knott County, as reported by the Lexington Herald Leader.

The children’s cousin, Brittany Trejo told the Herald Leader the family retreated to the roof when their home filled with water. And then it washed away beneath them.

“They managed to get to a tree and … held the children a few hours before a big tide came and wash them all away at the same time,” Trejo said. “The mother and father was stranded in the tree for 8 hours before anyone got there to help.”

(Friday 1:27 p.m.) 20,000+ Power Outages Remain

More than 22,000 power outages are being reported in eastern Kentucky, according to The bulk of them are in Knott, Perry and Letcher counties. The number of outages in those three counties combined is equal to about half of the electricity accounts, which includes homes, businesses, schools and other buildings.

(Friday 12:43 p.m.) 20+ Water Systems Affected

Twenty-one water systems were damaged or knocked out due to the flooding, according to state officials.

(Friday 12:14) Evacuations In Place After Fear Of Dam Breach

Evacuation orders remain in place for part of the town of Jackson, in Breathitt County, over fears that a dam could breach.

Water was still rising there this morning, putting pressure on the Panbowl Lake Dam.

The evacuations include a hospital, homes and businesses.

(Friday 11:42 a.m.) More Than Two Dozen State Roads Blocked

Portions of at least 28 state roads are blocked by water, landslides or other debris in eastern Kentucky, according to the state Department of transportation.

“We have bridge inspectors and engineers in the field but we’re unable to even get to some of these roadways it is so bad,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a morning news briefing. “Crews are still hard at work clearing as much mud and debris as they can.”

(Friday 11:31 a.m.) At Least 100 People Rescued By Air

At least 100 people have been rescued by helicopters, Beshear said in the briefing Friday morning.

National Guard assets from Tennessee and West Virginia are assisting.

(Friday 11:26 a.m.) Federal Disaster Declaration Issued

President Joe Biden has issued a federal disaster declaration for 13 counties in eastern Kentucky. They are:

Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike, and Wolfe

(Friday 11:19 a.m.) Kentucky Victims Came From Four Counties.

One additional death has been announced, bringing the total to 16.

Eleven of the people confirmed dead lived in Knott County, which includes the communities of Hindman, Brinkley and Garner.

One victim was from neighboring Perry County, which includes the towns of Hazard and Buckhorn.

Two were from Letcher County, which sits on the state line with Virginia and includes the communities of Whitesburg, Dongola and Jenkins.

Two victims lived in Clay County, which includes the towns of Manchester, Burning Springs and Peabody.

Coroners from all over Kentucky have responded to help and the National Guard is transporting bodies.

(Friday 8:10 a.m.) 15 Dead In Kentucky, Governor Announces

Gov. Andy Beshear posted a morning update to Twitter to announce the death toll has risen to 15.

“It’ll probably more than double,” Beshear said. “We know some of the loss will include children. We may have lost entire families.”

A house is seen almost completely submerged off of the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway on July 29, 2022, in Breathitt County, Ky. Several people have been killed and hundreds had to be rescued amid flooding from heavy rainfall. (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

A house is seen almost completely submerged off of the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway on July 29, 2022, in Breathitt County, Ky. Several people have been killed and hundreds had to be rescued amid flooding from heavy rainfall. (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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