Flooding plagues southeastern Kentucky, forcing some from homes and cars


The following are reports from counties in southeastern Kentucky ravaged by flooding. For a complete overview, watch the video attached to this story.

Report from Harlan County:

Harlan County Judge Executive Dan Mosley issued a state of emergency Saturday night after widespread flooding.

Mosley posted to Facebook saying it has been a "very scary evening" with bodies of water starting to overflow. He said they've surpassed flood stage and had to evacuate some homes.

The judge executive asked people to stay safe.

"My advice to you is if you do not have to be out, don't get out," Mosley posted to Facebook. "If you live near a river, keep a watchful eye out. Don't risk your life by staying in your home if you are about to be flooded. Seek higher ground immediately if you are in a flood prone area."

Mosley said the courthouse is open for people needing a place to go. They also opened a "Red Cross Welcome Center" at Harlan Baptist Church.

Report from Whitley County:

Whitley County officials continue to monitor rising flood waters, and low-lying parts of the county, as portions of Eastern Kentucky battle the messy aftermath of recent rainfall. All eyes were on the rising Cumberland River Sunday, as water levels inched higher and higher.

"I talked to one guy, he said, now when it gets up to that certain level on that Oak tree, said now that's when I've got to start worrying about my lawn mowers," said Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison.

A baseball field at the Briar Creek park was already washed out on Sunday afternoon, and Harrison says it's one of the first places to go under during a flood stage.

"The ball field starts taking on water, you can pretty much know George Hayes Road is going to be closed pretty soon," said Harrison.

Our crew found George Hayes Road passable Sunday afternoon, but the Cumberland River was already hugging the pavement.

"I think we've had around four inches of rain," said Harrison, but the worst hadn't arrived yet. Rainfall accumulations in areas upstream will continue to make their way south throughout the night.

"What we are seeing north of us, and up the river, is concerning," he said.

Harrison believes the river will reach its peak sometime on Monday, but thanks to a flood wall, city planning, and raised homes, an evacuation isn't likely at this point.

The predicted 30 inch mark is already down to 24 inches, and Harrison says Williamsburg sees these types of swells often.

"They go back down, we clean it up, and move on," he said.

Report from Bell County:

A landslide has caused the state highway department to close a Bell County highway.

Kentucky 74 is shut down at the hairpin curve about 9 miles west of Middlesboro.

Officials say the road will be shut down for at least two weeks.

Until the road is cleared, officials say the only way into the Frakes area is by using Kentucky 190.

Report from Perry County:

Multiple people have been rescued from flood waters Perry County.

Emergency crews are trying to rescue several people trapped in a home surrounded by flood waters.

Around 6 a.m. Sunday, Hazard Fire Department officials responded to a call about people trapped in their homes surrounded by flood waters.

The home is on Typo Road in the Bonnyman community.

Officials told WYMT four to five feet of water is outside the homes and four people, along with several pets, were rescued. They were not injured.

Later in the morning, emergency crews rescued a man from his car on Cherokee Hills Road in Hazard.

Witnesses say the man tried to drive through floodwaters and his car was swept into North Fork Kentucky River.

The man climbed out onto the hood of his car as it began to sink in the river.

Fire crews had to call in Department of Fish and Wildlife officials to use their boat to rescue the man.

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