Appalachian flooding deaths set to climb; more rain forecast

Baku, July 30, AZERATC

Trapped homeowners swam to safety and others were rescued by boat as record flash flooding killed at least 16 people in Kentucky and swamped entire Appalachian towns, prompting a frenzied search for survivors Friday through some of the poorest communities in America, according to AP.
Authorities warned the death toll would likely grow sharply as search efforts continued. The rain let up early Friday morning, but some waterways were not expected to crest until Saturday and more storms were forecast to roll through the region early next week.
It’s the latest in a string of catastrophic deluges that have hammered parts of the U.S. this summer, including St. Louis earlier this week and again Friday. Scientists warn climate change is making weather disasters more common.
Water poured down hillsides and into Appalachian valleys and hollows where it swelled creeks and streams coursing through small towns. The torrent engulfed homes and businesses and trashed vehicles. Mudslides marooned some people on steep slopes.
Rescue teams backed by the National Guard used helicopters and boats to search for the missing. But some areas remained inaccessible and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the death toll was “going to get a lot higher.” It could take weeks to account for all victims, he said.
Patricia Colombo, 63, of Hazard, Kentucky, got stranded after her car stalled in floodwaters on a state highway. Colombo began to panic when water started rushing in. Her phone was dead, but she saw a helicopter overhead and waved it down. The helicopter crew radioed a team on the ground that pulled her safely from her car.
Colombo stayed the night at her fiance’s home in Jackson and they took turns sleeping, repeatedly checking the water with flashlights to see if it was rising. Colombo lost her car but said others who were struggling prior to the floods had it worse.
“Many of these people cannot recover out here. They have homes that are half underwater, they’ve lost everything,” she said.

World 2022-07-30 14:18:00