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A state of emergency has been declared as heavy rains throughout Wednesday night caused devastating flooding in eastern Kentucky.
"It has been a tough night and maybe even a tougher morning for so many of our residents," Gov. Andy Beshear said during a Thursday morning press conference. "We're currently experiencing one of the worst, most devastating flooding events in Kentucky's history."
"What we're going to see coming out of this is massive property damage," added Beshear. "We expect the loss of life. Hundreds will lose their homes and this is going to be yet another event that is going to take not months, but likely years for many families to rebuild and recover from."
In addition to activating the National Guard, Beshear said on Thursday that he had declared a state of emergency.
"That will unlock the resources needed and also tell the people of eastern Kentucky that we are going to be there for them. You are important. We want to help," he shared.
Gov. Beshear to provide update on Eastern Kentucky flooding. Watch live at 9:30 a.m. EDT. https://t.co/V0uoj4NnT7
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) July 28, 2022
As of Thursday, over 23,000 people across the state were without power, and Beshear warned that some areas will temporarily lose water. Many others are still awaiting rescue.
"The situation right now is tough. There are a lot of people on top of roofs in Eastern Kentucky waiting to be rescued. There are a number of people that are unaccounted for and I'm nearly certain this is a situation where we're going to lose some of them," the governor continued. "But we are going to do everything we can to help as many people as possible. This is what we do as Kentuckians."
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More than 6 inches of rain fell across eastern Kentucky overnight, causing massive property damage and leaving some streets underwater, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.
Officials in Floyd County, where flash flooding also remains a danger, are urging residents to seek higher ground, avoid driving or walking in flooded areas and to stay informed on the latest weather developments, reported Fox affiliate WKDY.
"We're just in the rescue mode right now," Perry County Emergency Management Director Jerry Stacy told the Associated Press, calling the flooding a "catastrophic event."
"Extreme flash flooding and mudslides are just everywhere," added Stacy. "I've lived here in Perry County all my life and this is by the far the worst event I've ever seen."