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martes, 13 de febrero de 2018

State of Emergency called in Kentucky after massive flooding

A state of emergency has been declared in part of Kentucky after severe flooding damaged the area.

Harlan County Judge Executive Dan Mosley issued the state of emergency declaration on Saturday after widespread flooding on Friday, WKYT reports.

Stay Indoors

Mosley issued a warning on his Facebook page to residents of his county after he issued the state of emergency.

“It’s turned into a very scary evening here in Harlan County. Moments ago, I declared a state of emergency due to the widespread flooding we are experiencing. Creeks and streams started overflowing at around 4:00 p.m. As of now, rivers throughout our county are starting to overflow their banks as well,” he wrote.

“My advice to you is if you do not have to be out, don’t get out. If you live near a river, keep a watchful eye out. Don’t risk your life by staying in your home if you are about to be flooded. Seek higher ground immediately if you are in a flood prone area. The rivers are going to continue to rise through the night. The Courthouse is open right now if you need a place to go and we are working on an additional shelter as well,” he said.

“Call 911 if you cannot get out of your home and are flooding. County, city, and state crews are working hard to preserve life and property as is our dedicated emergency personnel. Keep them all in your prayers,” he advised. Several homes were evacuated and shelters were opened to handle people pushed out of their homes.

The Lexington Ledger Herald reports:

In Harlan County, 30 to 50 people spent Saturday night in shelters, either because their homes were flooded or because roads to their homes were blocked by high water, said Judge-Executive Dan Mosley…. 100 or more homes were evacuated. In addition, emergency workers had to do at least half a dozen rescues to help people out of vehicles they had driven into flood-covered roads, Mosley said.

Protected From Devastation

Workers closed floodgates in the county for the first time in 16 years on Saturday and that, along with other anti-flooding equipment, saved the county from more damage, WBIR reports.

“But if it weren’t for a massive flood control project that rerouted the Cumberland River in the late 80s, and installing the gates, Harlan could be under water today after such heavy rain over the weekend,” it reported.

“[D]evastating flood in Harlan County in 1977 led to federal action, creating the flood control system the county has today,” it said.

“Six years of construction resulted in nine flood gates, levees, a three-pump water removal system and a way to reroute the Cumberland River out of Harlan,” WBIR said. Mosley agreed in a statement to the station.

“Had the river still come through the City of Harlan, we would have had flooding downtown without question,” he said.

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky issued a statement saying in part:

My staff in Eastern Kentucky is working closely with local officials, and I am monitoring the situation and receiving updates.

As always, we are deeply grateful to the emergency responders who rescued a number of people from their homes or their cars. Helping their fellow Kentuckians through this hardship, they have again earned our thanks.

Residents of Kentucky are undoubtedly in need of our assistance and our prayers. May the emergency crews be successful in protecting the people of the Bluegrass state.