KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Beshear briefed the media on Eastern Kentucky flood conditions and the state’s response.

“Our biggest concern for today and tomorrow is the weather. It is very, very hot,” the Governor said. “Highs are ranging in the 90s. Combined with a humid air mass, it’s going to make it feel much hotter. That’s why we have set up these cooling centers.”

A press release says Governor Beshear reminded Kentuckians to visit the state’s flood resources web page for information about the different types of help and services, including individual assistance directions, for flood victims. Those seeking to donate to the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund, where all proceeds go to help victims, can visit this website.

Fatalities

There are 37 confirmed fatalities in five counties:

  • Breathitt – 8
  • Clay – 2
  • Knott – 17 (13 adults and 4 children) 
  • Letcher – 3
  • Perry – 7

Gov. Beshear noted that Kentucky State Police is reporting three missing people in KSP areas, but the Governor said this number does not consider other missing person reports made to local agencies.

Weather Update

A press release says highs ranging in the 90s are expected in the impacted areas. These temperatures combined with a humid air mass will make it feel much hotter. The heat index is expected to peak near or above 100 degrees in some locations. There is also a possibility for more thunderstorms Thursday. For Eastern Kentucky, more rain is expected Friday night through Saturday and into Sunday morning.

FEMA

A press release says earlier this week the Governor sent a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for additional individual assistance (IA), to add to the IA already approved for the counties of Breathitt, Clay, Knott, Letcher and Perry. Yesterday morning, IA was approved for Floyd and Pike counties. Currently, renters and homeowners of Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Pike counties who were affected by the severe storms, flooding and mudslides that began July 26 may apply for individual disaster assistance by applying online at this website or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362).

“I would strongly encourage people, because this is a tougher process than it should be, to actually go in and talk to someone,” Gov. Beshear said. “We have been promised mobile folks on the ground will be going neighborhood to neighborhood in the near future to document people’s losses.”

Additional counties are expected to qualify for individual assistance as FEMA teams continue to assess the damage.

Parks Housing

The Governor’s Office says a total of 219 people are temporarily housed at Kentucky State Parks:

  • Jenny Wiley State Resort Park has a total of 147 people occupying rooms, cottages and the campground. Rooms are fully booked, but campground space is available.
  • The road to Jenny Wiley between the ranger’s station and convention center remains flooded, but parks are providing shuttle by boat to transport to May Lodge.
  • Four people are staying in one camper at the Paintsville State Park Campground.
  • Pine Mountain State Resort Park has a total of two people staying and five rooms available.
  • Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park’s power has been restored, and now has running water.
  • Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park has 55 people occupying rooms and 20 rooms and two cottages are available.

Transportation

  • Bridge inspections continue. There are nearly 1,100 bridges in the region, and 84% have been inspected.
  • 21 bridges that have been checked are still impassable. 4 are state bridges; the other 17 are county bridges.
  • Transportation Cabinet crews from as far away as the Paducah highway district are in Eastern Kentucky, helping to reopen county roads in Breathitt, Knott and Letcher counties.

Debris Clean Up

  • The Transportation Cabinet is seeking sites where debris can be safely disposed.
  • Requests for quotes have gone out to dozens of potential vendors.
  • The cabinet is coordinating on this with the Division of Emergency Management and the Army Corps of Engineers.

HVAC Mechanics and Plumbers

The director of Kentucky Emergency Management issued a directive allowing HVAC mechanics and plumbers who have out-of-state licenses in good standing to perform volunteer work in the counties of Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Wolfe counties.

Team KY Flood Relief Fund

A press release says donations through the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund include 21,692 donations for a total of more than $3 million. The first expenditures from the fund will start going out this week. The Governor said there are 11 funeral payments ready to go out to those families who lost a loved one, and more is on the way as the fund is covering the cost of each victim’s funeral. These first payments will be $10,000 per lost loved ones going to the families of the deceased. No one will have to apply for this assistance as the state is working with area officials and funeral directors to identify these families.

“After all that work you put in, for your family, you’re suddenly left with only the clothes on your back,” Gov. Beshear said. “These are proud hard working folks that just lost it all, and maybe even lost someone they love. The least we can do as human beings, as people of faith and values, is to give and do what we can to get them back on their feet.”

For more information on flooding response efforts visit the Governor’s flood resources page.