FRANKFORT, KY — Kentucky saw three winter storms in two weeks. Then, the state saw heavy rain that caused serious flooding. Now, the state is requesting two federal disaster declarations.
Our area saw its share of ice during the Feb. 10-11 winter storm, which affected multiple states. That weather event was followed up by two rounds of snow the following week. Then, heavy rains on Sunday, Feb. 28 brought flooding to local communities, and others across the state.
Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency because of that flooding. At the local level, 20 cities and 44 counties declared their own states of emergency.
During a briefing with Beshear on Thursday, the governor's senior advisor, former state house Rep. Rocky Adkins, said the state will be requesting two federal disaster declarations: one for flooding and one for the ice storm.
"For you homeowners and those of you who have had personal property damage, as well as road crews and local leaders – document the damage, take pictures," Adkins said. "Make sure that’s part of our information we send into Washington D.C. for those declarations. We need a full application that will go in for approval to come back and bring relief to our people who are hurting so bad."
Beshear asked Kentuckians to photograph all items destroyed, including HVAC systems, furnishing and appliances and more, so the state can archive that information and get assistance for those affected.
State EMA Director Michael Dossett announced a flood cleanup hotline Kentuckians can call for help with damage. People at the Kentucky Flood Cleanup Hotline will connect callers with volunteers, local relief organizations, community groups and others who may be able to help with things like cutting fallen trees, tarping roofs, mold mitigation, and drywall, flooring and appliance removal. That number is 800-451-1954. The hotline will remain open through March 26.
Dossett said some counties still have water and power outages as of Thursday, and some are still clearing roads to get access to certain areas.
"Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported due to flooding this week,” Dossett said in a statement. “But the damage is significant. Lee County’s downtown business district was submerged in approximately 6 feet of water. Several manufactured homes as well as single family dwellings have been destroyed. Lee County Courthouse has suffered a major loss and other state and local government offices have been impacted."
"In Breathitt County, there was 5.48 inches of total rainfall, and some residents are still blocked in by water," Dossett continued. "We are still monitoring the breach at the dam that sits under Kentucky Highway 15 in Jackson and connects to Panbowl Lake, but the sand bag patch is holding, and Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, Division of Water Dam Inspector, Marilyn Thomas, has declared the dam is safe."