Kentucky’s governor said the death toll from the flooding included children.
The death toll in the devastating flash floods that hit Kentucky this week climbed to at least 25 on Friday, according to updated figures released Friday night by the governor’s office and the local authorities. And the number was expected to keep rising as rescue efforts continued in the eastern region of the state.
“It’s going to get a lot higher,” the state’s governor, Andy Beshear, said of the toll at a news briefing on Friday morning. Later, he said four children from one family were among six children who had died in the flooding.
“That’s hard,” the governor said. “It’s even harder for those families and those communities, so keep praying.”
The National Guard, the state police and other state agencies were helping with search and rescues efforts, which included about 50 aerial rescues and hundreds of rescues by boat. Mr. Beshear said that nearly 300 people had been rescued across the state, about 100 of whom were taken to safety by aircraft.
More than 20,000 customers in Kentucky were without electricity as of Friday evening, according to PowerOutage.us.
In other developments:
President Biden declared a major disaster in 13 counties in eastern Kentucky, freeing up federal funds for local governments and some nonprofit organizations.
Flash flood watches were in effect on Friday for parts of Kentucky — including some of the counties that were affected the day before — and West Virginia.
When a mother and father of four children under the age of 8 heard an alert for flash floods, the waters started entering their trailer home in Knott County before they had time to escape to higher ground. Their four children ended up being swept away in the floodwaters and died.
In the town of Whitesburg, the mayor answered the call to help her community at a moment when she was still grieving the loss of her husband. “I think this is where God meant for me to be,” Tiffany Craft, the 35-year-old mayor, said on Friday morning.
“I believe climate change is real,” Mr. Beshear, a Democrat, told reporters this week. “I believe that it is causing more severe weather. With that said, I don’t know about this one and whether it is or is not connected, and I don’t want to cheapen or politicize what these folks are going through.” Here’s a look at how climate change is affecting floods.