Several Kentucky counties managing high floodwaters, many forced to evacuate

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Posted at 2:10 PM, Mar 01, 2021

(LEX 18) — Several counties across the commonwealth are dealing with the aftermath of extremely heavy rainfall over the weekend.

More than a dozen counties were either in a flood watch or flood warning until early Monday morning. Gov. Andy Beshear has declared a state of emergency, which would allow the governor to mobilize state resources needed to support cities and counties affected by severe flooding.

Counties affected include Breathitt, Calloway, Casey, Elliott, Estill, Johnson, Knott, Magoffin, Owsley, Perry, and Pike counties along with the cities of Paintsville and Salyersville.

In Fayette County, heavy rain caused the Kentucky river to swell and cover Old Richmond Road in Lexington. A car became stuck and residents evacuated homes by rescue boats.

The driver was lucky. Someone drove by moments after his car stalled around 6:00 this morning and drove him to safety. Old Richmond Road will be closed for the foreseeable future while the water remains over the road.

Lexington Firefighters expect the water levels to rise as the day goes on creating hazardous situations as boats and other objects make their way down the river.

Less than a mile down the flooded Kentucky River, the Lexington Fire Department asked residents to evacuate their homes surrounded by 4-5 feet of water on Beach Road using rescue boats. We're told everyone is accounted for but not everyone decided to evacuate.

In Lee County, this aerial video shows what many people living in Beattyville are dealing with right now:

In Casey County, water in some areas off of US 127 got as deep as three feet.

Officials in Powell County are asking residents in areas typically impacted by flooding, particularly in downtown Clay City, to move to higher ground as water is still rising aggressively.

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

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.