FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - State officials continue to monitor the weather following weekend flooding in southeast Kentucky and forecasts of additional heavy rain later this week.
On Monday, the National Weather Service in Jackson issued a Flood Watch through Tuesday morning for parts of the Southeast, including Bell, Harlan, Knox, McCreary and Whitley counties; areas that have already experienced flooding and could see another two inches of rain during the watch period, with locally higher amounts possible.
Assessment teams from Kentucky Disaster Relief are in the area and will be meeting Tuesday morning. Blue hat Dave Hampton of Corbin is in charge of putting together the teams.
Additional rainfall of up to three inches is possible on Wednesday and Thursday, in those same areas.
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., promised his support from the Senate floor on Monday.
"Heavy rainfall last week damaged homes, businesses, & infrastructure in Southeastern Kentucky," he tweeted. "I’m grateful to the first responders who’ve helped many out of harm’s way. My team and I stand ready to work with local officials in the recovery process."
Last Friday, Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency in response to the flooding. As of Monday morning, nine counties and four cities have declared local states of emergencies. The Governor’s executive order enables the mobilization of state resources to be utilized in support of cities and counties as needed.
Kentucky Emergency Management officials say with oversaturation of grounds and flooding conditions from last week’s heavy rain, the coming forecasted rain events could cause additional emergency conditions in flood prone areas to include low-lying bodies of water, rivers, streams, culverts or downstream from a dam or levee. KYEM, the National Weather Service, FEMA, state partners and local officials are in continual discussions and are preparing for the coming weather systems.
“We urge citizens across the commonwealth to stay vigilant, monitor their local media, listen to local authorities, and heed weather warnings over the next several days,” Beshear said. “I declared a state of emergency to allow affected communities to utilize state resources and we will continue to act swiftly to ensure the safety and security of Kentucky families and communities.”
The State Emergency Operation Center in Frankfort remains activated to assist impacted counties, collect damage reports and monitor the incoming weather systems.
“We have advance notice of the potential rainfall amounts to make needed preparations for this system,” said Michael Dossett, director of KYEM. “Have a plan, practice your plan and don’t be caught off guard. Be aware of your surroundings. Should officials issue an evacuation order, do not wait, leave immediately.”