Flooding devastates parts of Kentucky
Published 11:56 am Thursday, July 20, 2023
BY TOM LATEK
Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday afternoon that he has issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency across Kentucky due to heavy rain and flooding that has affected several parts of the state.
“The weather event impacted multiple areas across the Commonwealth, with significant damage reported in Mayfield and communities across western Kentucky,” Beshear said during a Capitol press conference. “This will allow us to better respond to the needs of the communities affected, and open up state assistance to help those areas, especially where they were affected by the tornadoes of December 2021, and are now having to go through this flooding as well.”
In addition to the state of emergency, Beshear says he also activated the state’s price-gouging laws to protect residents from overpriced goods and services. “Sadly, during these natural disasters, what we see is some people trying to take advantage of those who are already struggling after being impacted, and we are not going to allow that to happen.”
Consumers who feel they have been victimized, can report price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General. Under state law, price gougers can be held accountable.
In other actions related to the flood:
• The State Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort has activated to level 3, a high level that brings in other state agencies.
• Five Kentucky Emergency Management Area Managers have been mobilized to the area.
• Swift Water Search and Rescue teams statewide were put on alert in case more help is needed.
Beshear says the state has not been requested by local governments to send Kentucky National Guard troops to affected areas or other state aid, and that it’s too soon to determine if there is enough damage for a possible federal disaster declaration request.
“At this point, there are no known fatalities, at least that have been reported to us, and at the moment we have not received any reports of missing persons,” he noted. “Multiple rescues in multiple counties have been undertaken, and we are working to confirm those numbers.”
Power was also out to nearly 7,000 customers as of noon Wednesday. Calloway County had the most, at 1,400.
According to Beshear, local states of emergency due to flooding have been issued in Graves, Hickman and Carlisle counties, as well as in cities within those counties. Numerous roads remain closed throughout western Kentucky, but there have also been issues reported elsewhere in the state, including Estill and Lee counties.
Beshear reminded residents, “We can replace stuff, we can repair buildings, but we cannot and should not lose any lives.”
He also repeated advice given during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic: “We’ll get through this, we’ll get through this together. We will be there, and we will provide resources and help so our people can make it through yet another challenge.”