Gov. Beshear declares state of emergency, National Guard called to assist flood victims

Posted at 12:07 PM, Mar 01, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gov. Andy Beshear has declared a state of emergency after extremely heavy rainfall swamped the commonwealth throughout the weekend.

The state of emergency allows the governor to mobilize state resources needed to support cities and counties affected by severe flooding.

"We are acting swiftly to ensure the safety and security of Kentucky families and to get the needed help to our communities," Beshear said.

The entire commonwealth received heavy rainfall over the weekend and remained in either a flood watch or flood warning until early Monday morning. A total of 13 counties and cities have declared states of emergency, including Breathitt, Calloway, Casey, Elliott, Estill, Johnson, Knott, Magoffin, Owsley, Perry and Pike counties and the cities of Paintsville and Salyersville.

The Kentucky National Guard has been activated and is responding to assist with high water emergencies.

Rounds of heavy rain occurred Sunday night. Most of this additional rainfall is likely to become runoff, leading to the threat of flash flooding. In addition, areal flooding of streams and creeks is likely, along with additional instances of river flooding.

"We've experienced flooding in numerous regions," said Michael Dossett, director of KYEM. "Please be aware of the presence of emergency responders and use caution near the many closed local and state roadways due to high water."

Some basic safety tips for flooding awareness include:

  • Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters – TURN AROUND. DON’T DROWN!
  • Do not drive over bridges that are above fast-moving floodwaters. Floodwaters can scour foundation material from around the footings and make the bridge unstable.
  • Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 1 foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
  • Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.