Death toll remains at 37; vicious heat on the way – cooling centers open
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear provided an update on rescue and recovery efforts following historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky. The Governor said the death toll remains the same, 37, but is still expected to increase and that vicious heat is expected in the impacted regions, where cooling centers are open.
“Our biggest concern for today and tomorrow is the weather. It is very, very hot,” the Governor said. “Highs are ranging in the 90s. Combined with a humid air mass, it’s going to make it feel much hotter. That’s why we have set up these cooling centers.”
Yesterday, Gov. Beshear visited the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and emergency shelter at Shelby Valley Elementary School in Pike County and the Floyd County EOC and emergency shelter. He met with local officials in Breathitt County and toured the high school in the City of Jackson.
The Governor reminded Kentuckians to visit the state’s flood resources web page for information about the different types of help and services, including individual assistance directions, for flood victims. Those seeking to donate to the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund, where all proceeds go to help victims, can visit TeamEKYFloodReliefFund.ky.gov.
There are 37 confirmed fatalities in five counties:
- Breathitt – 8
- Clay – 2
- Knott – 17 (13 adults and 4 children)
- Letcher – 3
- Perry – 7
Gov. Beshear noted that Kentucky State Police is reporting three missing persons within the affected posts. But the Governor said this number does not consider other missing person reports made to local agencies.
Highs ranging in the 90s are expected in the impacted areas. These temperatures combined with a humid air mass will make it feel much hotter. The heat index is expected to peak near or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some locations. There is also a possibility for additional thunderstorms Thursday. For Eastern Kentucky, more rain is expected Friday night through Saturday and into Sunday morning.
There are a total of eight cooling stations across Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Letcher, Perry, Pike and Wolfe counties. For details visit the Governor’s flood resources web page.
“If you don’t have power, if you don’t have a cool place to be, today and tomorrow is going to get really hot,” Gov. Beshear said. “For seniors, people with medical conditions and really everybody, make sure you take care of yourselves.”
There are 10 emergency shelters actively assisting 221 people. Please visit the Governor’s flood resources web page for a full list of locations and addresses.
Earlier this week the Governor sent a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for additional individual assistance (IA), to add to the IA already approved for the counties of Breathitt, Clay, Knott, Letcher and Perry. Yesterday morning, IA was approved for Floyd and Pike counties. Currently, renters and homeowners of Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Pike counties who were affected by the severe storms, flooding and mudslides that began July 26 may apply for individual disaster assistance by applying online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362).
“I would strongly encourage people, because this is a tougher process than it should be, to actually go in and talk to someone,” Gov. Beshear said. “We have been promised mobile folks on the ground will be going neighborhood to neighborhood in the near future to document people’s losses.”
Additional counties are expected to qualify for individual assistance as FEMA teams continue to assess the damage.
FEMA Mobile Registration Centers
A mobile registration center is located in each of Knott, Breathitt, Letcher, Clay and Perry counties. Center locations:
- Breathitt County – 421 Jett Drive, Jackson, KY 41339
- Clay County – Clay Community Center – 311 Highway 638, Manchester, KY 40962
- Knott County – Knott County Sportsplex – 450 Kenny Champion Loop #8765, Leburn, KY 41831
- Letcher County – Letcher County Recreation Center – 1505 Jenkins Rd., Whitesburg, KY, 41858
- Perry County – Hazard Community and Technical College – 1 Community College Drive, Hazard, KY 41701
Hours for all the centers are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. FEMA representatives will be at the centers to help with applications for federal assistance and provide information about other disaster recovery resources.
Power outages have been cut in half. Currently there are about 5,000 reported outages across Breathitt, Knott, Perry, Floyd and Letcher counties.
Kentucky National Guard
In addition to their great rescue work, the Kentucky National Guard has distributed 2,404 cases of water and 65 cases of meals ready to eat in the affected counties. Four hundred Kentucky National Guard members are currently supporting the mission.
A total of 219 people are temporarily housed at Kentucky State Parks:
- Jenny Wiley State Resort Park has a total of 147 people occupying rooms, cottages and the campground. Rooms are fully booked, but campground space is available.
- The road to Jenny Wiley between the ranger’s station and convention center remains flooded, but parks are providing shuttle by boat to transport to May Lodge.
- Four people are staying in one camper at the Paintsville State Park Campground.
- Pine Mountain State Resort Park has a total of two people staying and five rooms available.
- Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park’s power has been restored, and now has running water.
- Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park has 55 people occupying rooms and 20 rooms and two cottages are available.
Today, the Governor announced a way for people who are seeking emergency shelter in a travel trailer to register for assistance. That registration page is linked on the flood resources page, and the state also has supplied flyers to FEMA disaster recovery centers and Red Cross shelters that have the registration link. The Eastern Kentucky Sheltering Program is available to survivors whose homes were majorly damaged, destroyed or deemed not habitable in one of the seven counties designated for FEMA Individual Assistance: Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Pike. Program eligibility requires that participants register for assistance with FEMA at disasterassistance.gov.
Location of travel trailers so far: 25 at Jenny Wiley State Park, two are operational and ready for occupancy; 25 are at Mine Made Campground in Knott County, soon to be operational; nine are at Carr Creek State Park in Knott County, soon to be operational.
- Bridge inspections continue. There are nearly 1,100 inventoried bridges in the region, and 84% have been inspected.
- Twenty-one bridges that have been checked are still impassable. Four are state bridges; the other 17 are county bridges.
- Transportation Cabinet crews from as far away as the Paducah highway district are in Eastern Kentucky, helping to reopen county roads in Breathitt, Knott and Letcher counties.
Debris Clean Up
- The Transportation Cabinet is seeking sites where debris can be safely disposed.
- Requests for quotes have gone out to dozens of potential vendors.
- The cabinet is coordinating on this with the Division of Emergency Management and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Replacing Licenses, Titles and Registrations
- Mobile “pop-up” driver licensing services will be set up to issue replacement driver licenses, permits and state ID cards for flood victims sheltering at Jenny Wiley, Pine Mountain and Buckhorn Lake state resort parks.
- The one-day visits will be Friday at Jenny Wiley, Monday at Pine Mountain and Tuesday at Buckhorn Lake.
- The hours at each location will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. No appointments needed, walk-ins only.
- There’s no charge for the replacement documents and credentials for residents of the 13 counties covered by the federal disaster declaration: Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Wolfe.
- There is also no charge for replacing titles or registrations for motor vehicles, boats, mobile homes and ATVs.
For more information read the full release.
HVAC Mechanics and Plumbers
The director of Kentucky Emergency Management issued a directive allowing HVAC mechanics and plumbers who have out-of-state licenses in good standing to perform volunteer work in the counties of Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Wolfe counties.
Team KY Flood Relief Fund
Donations through TeamEKYFloodReliefFund.ky.gov include 21,692 donations for a total of more than $3 million. The first expenditures from the fund will start going out this week. The Governor said we have 11 funeral payments ready to go out to those families who lost a loved one, and more is on the way as the fund is covering the cost of each victim’s funeral. These first payments will be $10,000 per lost loved ones going to the families of the deceased. No one will have to apply for this assistance as the state is working with area officials and funeral directors to identify these families.
“After all that work you put in, for your family, you’re suddenly left with only the clothes on your back,” Gov. Beshear said. “These are proud hard working folks that just lost it all, and maybe even lost someone they love. The least we can do as human beings, as people of faith and values, is to give and do what we can to get them back on their feet.”
Comprehensive Vehicle Coverage
Comprehensive auto insurance covers flood damage. People with comprehensive coverage should contact their insurance agent to file a claim.
Kentucky Department of Revenue
The Kentucky Department of Revenue will honor the recently announced IRS special tax relief for taxpayers in any area designated by FEMA as qualifying for individual assistance due to flooding. Individuals and households who reside or have a business in Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Wolfe counties qualify for this income tax relief. Affected taxpayers with a valid extension will have until Nov. 15, 2022, to file Kentucky tax returns for individual income tax, corporate income tax, and limited liability entity tax.
Estimated income tax payments due on Sept. 15, 2022, are also allowed an extension until Nov. 15, 2022. Payroll withholding filings and payments due between July 26 and Nov. 15, 2022, are also eligible for this extension. Late filing and payment penalties will be waived for those affected taxpayers seeking relief based on these tax categories. Kentucky's tax laws do not allow interest to be waived due to natural disasters. Taxpayers should label the top margin of the tax forms filed under this relief provision in large, red letters with the words "Kentucky Flood Relief."
U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that Floyd and Pike counties are now included as primary counties in the disaster declaration in Eastern Kentucky, and the SBA will open three Business Recovery Centers this week. For complete information read the release from the SBA.
For more information on flooding response efforts visit the Governor’s flood resources page.