“It’s been a rough night and perhaps an even tougher morning for so many of our residents,” Beshear said at a morning news conference. “We are currently experiencing one of the worst, most devastating floods in Kentucky history.”
The governor also said the state expects “massive property damage” that “will take not months, but likely years for many families to rebuild and recover from.” A total of 25,111 people are currently without power statewide, he added.
Beshear has activated the Kentucky National Guard and signed a state of emergency, which “will release the necessary resources and also tell the people of eastern Kentucky that we will be there for them,” he said.
The Perry County sheriff, where two of the three were killed, described the flooding as “unlike (anything) I’ve ever seen.”
Authorities have not released the names or ages of the victims, but said one person drowned.
“We’ve been getting reports all night from people that we just haven’t been able to reach,” Perry County Sheriff Joe Engle told NBC News. “So hoping the water will retreat and come down to get them, but I’m not sure how many people are still trapped.”
Perry County Emergency Management Director Jerry Stacy said: The Associated Press that “we’re just in rescue mode right now.”
“Extreme flash floods and mudslides are everywhere,” he said by phone Thursday morning as he struggled to reach his office in Hazard.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., tweeted about the floods and calls anyone who needs help to contact his office.
“Pray for all those affected,” he wrote.