NewsCovering Kentucky


Flooding in Knox County blocks roads, leaves residents stuck at home

Posted at 12:44 PM, Mar 29, 2021

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Given what transpired in Lee and Breathitt counties earlier this month, a prediction of flooding of any kind was going to rattle a few nerves in Southeastern Kentucky.

"What I'm really nervous about is how far up it got and our basement is just right there, so that kind of made me nervous," said Olivia Holstein, who has only been living in this part of Barbourville for about one year.

Saturday's storm caused the Cumberland River to surge above the banks and onto neighboring streets. Some were impassable, and that forced the Knox County School District to close schools for the day. Olivia teaches second grade.

"I've been teaching classes on-line all day," she said while standing just feet from the water on her block.

Since her driveway is on a corner, there's a way for her to use the grass to inch her way to the connecting road that is passable.

"I'll just off-road it," she joked.

Lucy Helton won’t be able to do that, because her house sits just above some of the deepest water on the street.


"It's just an inconvenience for me," Helton explained as she doesn’t have to leave the house daily. Helton has lived here for more than 25 years, so Saturday's storm and this amount of flooding were no big deal.

"Last time (2020) it was up here and got up on my steps and everything. It'll probably be down in the morning, and if it doesn't rise anymore we’ll be fine," Helton said.

Holstein is already worried about the next time it happens.

"The previous owner had a flood and it got into the basement, so I'm kind of nervous about it," she said.

Knox County School District kept students and staff at home Monday. Knox County Public Schools says students will learn remotely on Tuesday due to area flooding.