SOUTHEASTERN Ky. (WTVQ) – “A long heart-wrenching” 24 hours” is how the Harlan County Judge-Executive described the flooding.
Dan Mosley declared a state of emergency Saturday night because of all the water.
He says creeks and streams were already overflowing by about 4 P.M. Saturday.
Just about four hours later, rivers were flowing over their banks.
Saturday night, the Judge-Executive encouraged people living near water to head for shelter at the courthouse rather than get trapped in their homes.
Eight people did stay at a Red Cross shelter Saturday night in the county.
Mosley says a team got started on assessing damage to public and private property.
In Perry County the fire department says it had to rescue people from high water three times Sunday.
The first two were at homes surrounded by water on Typo Road in the Bonnyman community.
Four people and several pets were trapped inside.
Around 6 A.M., firefighters got them out safely through about four or five feet of water.
Later, the fire department had to use a boat to save a man in a car on Cherokee Hills Road.
According to the fire department, the man was trying to drive through water and his car got pulled into the Kentucky river.
It started sinking and he climbed out onto the hood where firefighters were able to rescue him.
In Bell County, the Sheriff’s Department has been keeping people updated on flood conditions.
The Cumberland River there is several feet above what’s considered flood level.
Multiple roads are covered in water.
State emergency management has activated its emergency operations center.
It says it’s monitoring flooding conditions in Bell County and beyond.
Landslides have also been a problem.
In Bell, Highway 74 is shut down West of Middlesboro at the hairpin curve.
The Sheriff says it will stay closed for about two weeks.
Until it’s open again, you’ll have to take Kentucky 190 to get to the Frakes area.
Landslides and road closures have also been reported in Pike and Letcher counties.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office says they have been very busy, but grateful everyone has been cautious during the heavy rains.
“We’ve had several calls today obviously people behind water. Thank goodness we haven’t had anything serious related to flooding water yet but we always tell people in the communities to watch out for their family as well as their neighbors and help each other out and lets get through this safely.”
Many of the roads in Knox County are covered with water, many of them impassible for drivers.
Seven major roadways including the underpass off of US 25 East have been closed until further notice.
“We always caution individuals or drivers, when they encounter water covered roadways, not to drive through there because its hard to determine the depth, especially at night and you could get in there and your vehicle stall and create a very hazardous condition for you and whoever is in your vehicle.”
According to the National Weather Service, over half of all flood related drownings occur when a car is driven into hazardous flood water.
The Knox County Sheriff says to always remember, turn around, don’t drown.