New footage has emerged showing the devastation in eastern Kentucky after unprecedented flooding. Last week, deadly floods swept through the region, leaving 37 people dead.
The new video, captured in communities around the town of Hazard, shows homes toppled over, a washed-away bridge, and debris scattered along the side of the road.
“I think when it all clears out there’s going to be a lot more damage than we realize,” said Julian Chitwood, a resident of Hazard who has lived in the area for over a decade. According to reports, more than a dozen bridges in the town have been damaged due to the historic flooding.
Now, meteorologists in the state expect temperatures to soar in eastern Kentucky, including in places without power. Following the devastation, more than 400 National Guardsmen were deployed across the disaster area.
Since the deployment, more than 1,300 people have been rescued from the flooding. Currently, rescue teams and even some civilians are still trying to reach some survivors who remain trapped in their homes.
President Joe Biden later declared the flooding a federal disaster to direct relief money to flooded counties.
From ice storms, flash floods, and tornadoes, Kentucky has seen crazy weather in the last year. According to experts, several factors make the Bluegrass state more prone to extreme weather.
Some are calling this a 1,000-year flood, meaning there’s a .1% chance of it happening in a given year. However, Kentucky meteorologist Chris Bailey said it might be even rarer than that.
Why Kentucky is prone to disastrous flooding
In addition, geologist, research professor, and director of the Kentucky Geological Survey, Dr. William Haneberg, has been studying flooding in eastern Kentucky for years.
“We often talk about things being unprecedented, but I think this was an event that truly was,” Dr. Haneberg said about the recent flooding.
The topography in Kentucky is already flood-prone, making it difficult for the state to recover once something like this happens.
“You may hear people say, ‘Well why do people build in flood plains?’ It’s because in areas like a lot of parts of eastern Kentucky, there’s really no other choice,” Dr. Haneberg said.
Additionally, Dr. Haneberg adds that the state’s steep terrain and narrow valleys make it easy for rain to cause flooding. Moreso, the elevation in the mountains can create more showers. Finally, to add insult to injury, the state’s geographical location makes them ripe for precipitation.
“We’re one of the few states that can get the extreme weather of every season. Our proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, which is open for business now, and the warmer waters down in the Gulf of Mexico have just been feeding a lot of extra moisture toward Kentucky,” Bailey said.