A dramatic video from drenched eastern Kentucky shows a person being rescued by a helicopter from a rooftop overlooking the floodwaters.
The only parts of houses seen in the video, posted on facebook by the Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team, were the tops of rooftops.
The post said a Wolfe County rapid-water crew broke through the window of one of the homes to get to a family who was trapped. The crew took the family to the roof, where a helicopter crew brought them to safety. The video shows an 83-year-old woman being rescued.
The National Guard has made more than 1,000 airlift rescues in eastern Kentucky after the devastating floods, Governor Andy Beshear said Sunday.
The governor announced Monday that at least 35 people were killed. He has repeatedly said the death toll is expected to rise as dozens are still missing.
Beshear, who traveled through some of the worst-hit areas on Sunday, said the floods were “certainly the deadliest and most devastating of my life.”
“I mean, houses that have been swept away for miles. They don’t know where some parts of people’s homes are,” Beshear said.
The governor said the crews were still in search and rescue mode, hoping to find those who may be missing because they are trapped or because they don’t have a cell phone.
More than 12,000 people in the state are without power, less than double that, he said.
The governor also said he and his wife were canceling a planned trip to Israel this week.
“I can’t be overseas while the people of Eastern Kentucky are suffering and the region will still be in a critical phase in the coming weeks. I promised the people yesterday that I would be there for them – today, tomorrow and in the coming weeks — and I’m going to keep that promise,” Beshear said.
More flash floods were possible on Monday in parts of Appalachia as the latest storms come through, the National Weather Service said. Precipitation rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour were possible in some of the same areas flooded last week.
“If it wasn’t hard enough for the people in this region, they’re getting rain now,” Beshear said Monday. “There is a serious storm potential in all affected areas today, and that’s just not good.”
In the past seven days, eastern Kentucky has seen 5 to 10 inches of rain, which is 600% of the average rainfall for this time of year.
The record-breaking flood in Kentucky was considered a 1 in 1,000 year flood, meaning there was a 0.1% chance of it happening in any given year.
Due to climate change, precipitation events are becoming heavier and more frequent, especially east of the Mississippi River.
A dozen shelters were open for flood victims in Kentucky with 388 occupants on Sunday, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA announced on Friday that President Joe Biden made a major disaster declaration, making federal aid available to the state.
On Saturday, Biden said he added individual aid to that statement with the aim of further helping displaced families.
Kathryn Procivi contributed.