At Least 16 Dead amid Ky. Flooding, Death Toll Expected to Rise: 'May Have Even Lost Entire Families'

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At Least 16 Dead amid Ky. Flooding, Death Toll Expected to Rise: 'May Have Even Lost Entire Families'
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The death toll from the devastating flooding in eastern Kentucky, one of the worst in state history, is continuing to rise.

In a brief update on Friday morning, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear shared that "heartbreakingly, we can confirm at least 15 deaths, but we expect that number to grow." Hours later, he said the number of confirmed deaths had increased to 16.

On Friday morning, Beshear estimated that the death toll will likely "more than double" and "include children."

"We may have even lost entire families," he added.

Hours later, Beshear shared in an afternoon update that deaths had been reported in four counties, with 11 in Knott County, including two children, a 63-year-old man, and a 65-year-old woman.

One death was reported in Perry County, an 81-year-old woman, as well as two in Letcher County, a 79-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman. Additionally, two fatalities were reported in Clay County, including a 76-year-old woman.

At another press conference later in the day, Beshear shared that while he could not provide an official update, he had learned that the bodies of four children from Knott County had been found, bringing the number of children who had died to six. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the children were all siblings.

Members of a rescue team assist a family out of a boat on July 28, 2022 in Quicksand, Kentucky. Storms that dropped as much as 12 inches of rain in some parts of Eastern Kentucky have caused devastating floods in some areas and have claimed at least eight lives.
Members of a rescue team assist a family out of a boat on July 28, 2022 in Quicksand, Kentucky. Storms that dropped as much as 12 inches of rain in some parts of Eastern Kentucky have caused devastating floods in some areas and have claimed at least eight lives.

Michael Swensen/Getty Rescue team helping a family in Quicksand, Kentucky

RELATED: 'Loss of Life' Expected as Ky. Governor Declares Emergency Over 'One of the Worst' Floods in State History

Speaking with CNN on Friday morning, Beshear said that although eastern Kentucky often experiences flooding, "we've never seen something like this."

Aerial view of homes submerged under flood waters from the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Kentucky, on July 28, 2022. - Flash flooding caused by torrential rains has killed at least eight people in eastern Kentucky and left some residents stranded on rooftops and in trees, the governor of the south-central US state said Thursday.
Aerial view of homes submerged under flood waters from the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Kentucky, on July 28, 2022. - Flash flooding caused by torrential rains has killed at least eight people in eastern Kentucky and left some residents stranded on rooftops and in trees, the governor of the south-central US state said Thursday.

LEANDRO LOZADA/AFP via Getty Homes submerged in Jackson, Kentucky, on Thursday

"Whole roads washed out — we still can't get to a lot of people. There is so much water. The current is so strong. It is not safe for some of the water rescues that we need to do," he added, noting that some residents had their homes "completely swept away in the middle of the night."

"This is so deadly, and it hit so hard, and it hit in the middle of the night," Beshear said of the flooding, which began on Wednesday.

RELATED: 44 People Found Following Flash Flooding in Southwest Virginia

With over 23,000 residents still without power as of Friday morning, first responders are working around the clock to help Kentuckians in need.

"Yesterday teams engaged in around 50 air rescues and hundreds of boat rescues," Beshear shared in his Friday update.

Aerial view of homes submerged under flood waters from the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Kentucky, on July 28, 2022. - Flash flooding caused by torrential rains has killed at least eight people in eastern Kentucky and left some residents stranded on rooftops and in trees, the governor of the south-central US state said Thursday.
Aerial view of homes submerged under flood waters from the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Kentucky, on July 28, 2022. - Flash flooding caused by torrential rains has killed at least eight people in eastern Kentucky and left some residents stranded on rooftops and in trees, the governor of the south-central US state said Thursday.

LEANDRO LOZADA/AFP via Getty Homes submerged in Jackson, Kentucky, on Thurdsday

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However, as search and rescue efforts continue, flash flooding remains a danger.

Parts of eastern Kentucky as well as West Virginia remain at a moderate risk of flooding through Friday evening, according to the Weather Prediction Center and the National Weather Service. Per NWS Meteorologist Brandon Bonds, even small amounts of rain can "cause even more damage," according to the Louisville Courier Journal.

RELATED: Severe Flooding Causes Damage in Yellowstone National Park: Photos

Homes along Gross Loop off of KY-15 are flooded with water from the North Fork of the Kentucky River.
Homes along Gross Loop off of KY-15 are flooded with water from the North Fork of the Kentucky River.

Arden S. Barnes/For The Washington Post via Getty Homes flooded with water from the North Fork of the Kentucky River

More than 6 inches of rain fell across eastern Kentucky overnight on Wednesday, causing massive property damage and leaving some streets underwater, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.

In Floyd County, approximately 80 people have been rescued since heavy rains began in the area Tuesday, county Judge-Executive Robbie Williams told CNN.

"I've never seen this much water before," county Judge-Executive Robbie Williams told the outlet.