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After the rain comes the heat in flooded Kentucky towns

A car lays overturned in Troublesome Creek in downtown Hindman, Ky., Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Timothy D. Easley/AP
FR43398 AP
A car lays overturned in Troublesome Creek in downtown Hindman, Ky., Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

The rain that unleashed massive floods in Appalachian mountain communities is diminishing, but now the people face a new threat: baking in the heat as they try to recover. WUKY's Karyn Czar has details.

More bodies are emerging from the sodden landscape, and the death toll now stands at 37. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says more than 1,300 people have been rescued, and crews are still trying to reach some people who've been cut off by floods or mudslides. As the heat sets in, the governor says cooling stations are being set up in buildings that were spared from the floods.

From the office of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear:

Today, Gov. Beshear announced eight cooling centers are opening in Eastern Kentucky after historic flooding this week. In the next few days there is only an isolated threat of rain, but extreme heat is a concern, which is dangerous for those without power, especially seniors and other vulnerable individuals. The heat index is expected to peak near or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some locations.

“Don’t be too proud to go to one of these places. It’s going to be really hot and really dangerous,” the Governor said. “So if you have a family member who’s older or maybe who has some conditions, you want to make sure you get them to a place where they’re going to be cool enough.”

The cooling stations are:

  • Breathitt County – Breathitt Library – 1024 College Ave., Lost Creek  
  • Floyd County – Floyd Community Center – 7199 KY-80, Langley  
  • Johnson County – City of Paintsville Recreation Center – 232 Preston St., Paintsville  
  • Knott County – Knott County Sportsplex – 450 Kenny Champion Loop, Leburn  
  • Letcher County – Letcher County Central High School – 435 Cougar Drive, Whitesburg  
  • Perry County – Perry County Community Center – 354 Perry Park, Hazard  
  • Pike County – Valley Elementary School – 162 Douglas Pkwy., Pikeville 
  • Wolfe County – Senior Center – 76 Marion St., Campton

FEMA Assistance
Yesterday morning, the Governor sent a request to FEMA asking for additional counties to be approved for Individual Assistance. Following this morning’s press conference, the Governor posted to social media announcing that the President approved Individual Assistance for Pike and Floyd counties. Now, the counties approved are Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Pike.

Currently, homeowners and renters in the approved 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).

When applying for assistance, it’s important to have some critical information in hand:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted;
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying;
  • Your Social Security number;
  • A general list of damage and losses;
  • Banking information if you choose direct deposit; and
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name.

The Governor also announced the opening of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Mobile Registration Centers where eligible Kentuckians can sign up for Individual Assistance. There is one location in each of the following counties: Knott, Breathitt, Letcher, Clay and Perry.

  • 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.

There have been 37 confirmed fatalities in five counties: eight in Breathitt; two in Clay; 17 in Knott (13 adults and four children; children are from the same family); three in Letcher; and seven in Perry).

Governor’s Visits Today

  1. Pike County – Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Emergency Shelter at Shelby Valley Elementary School
  2. Floyd County – Floyd County EOC and Emergency Shelter at the Floyd County Community Center
  3. Breathitt County – Breathitt County Courthouse

Emergency Shelters
There are 11 emergency shelters active, assisting 429 people. Please visit our Flood Resources page for a full list of locations and addresses.

State Park Sheltering
In addition, a total of 191 people are temporarily housed at Kentucky State Parks.

  • Jenny Wiley State Resort Park has a total of 145 people occupying rooms, cottages, and the campground. Rooms are fully booked, but campground space is available.
  • Four people are staying in one camper at the Paintsville State Park Campground.
  • Pine Mountain State Resort Park has a total of five people temporary housed and has five rooms available.
  • Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park’s power has been restored, and now has running water. Teams are working on phone and internet services. The park has 37 people occupying rooms and 27 rooms and three cottages are available.

Travel Trailers

  • There are 25 travel trailers at Jenny Wiley State Park (two operational and ready for occupancy);
  • There are 17 at the Knott County Sportsplex (none occupied);
  • Four are at Carr Creek in Knott County (none are occupied).

Sales Tax Refunds for Purchase of Building Materials

  • Kentuckians in the five counties included in the federal disaster declaration for individual assistance are eligible to request a refund of Kentucky sales and use tax paid on the purchase of building materials permanently installed in the repair or replacement of structures damaged by flooding.
  • These sales tax refunds are good for purchases made on or after the date of the disaster declaration for individual relief up to $6,000 in tax per building. Applicants in Breathitt, Clay, Knott, Letcher and Perry counties have three years from the date of the federal disaster declaration to submit a refund claim to the Kentucky Department of Revenue after the repairs or replacement construction are completed.
  • Property owners living in any one of these five designated counties who purchase building materials for the repair or replacement of structures damaged by the floods can visit the Kentucky Department of Revenue’s website at revenue.ky.gov to learn more about how to apply for a sales tax refund.
  • Individuals in need of more personalized assistance may call 502-564-5170 and select Option 1 to speak to a member of the Revenue staff.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance
The Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) is working to establish a Disaster Unemployment Assistance program. OUI is working with its federal partners to provide Disaster Unemployment Assistance as quickly as possible to eligible Kentuckians in the five counties cleared to receive individual assistance.

Red Cross Assistance
If you have been impacted by the recent flash floods, please call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767).

Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund

Flags Lowered in Honor of Kentuckians Lost to Floods

  • The Governor directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff for one week in honor of the Kentuckians who were lost to or have been impacted by the flooding events in Eastern Kentucky.
  • Flags at state office buildings should be lowered to half-staff beginning at sunrise Tuesday, Aug. 2, and remain so until sundown Monday, Aug. 8. The Governor encouraged individuals, businesses and organizations throughout Kentucky to join in this tribute.    

Green Lights For Compassion
Gov. Beshear again encouraged Kentuckians to join him in light up homes and businesses in green light to show compassion for those affected by the flooding. The Governor started the practice originally to honor the victims of COVID-19 pandemic. He is encouraging individuals, businesses and organizations to join him in this tribute.

“We’re lighting up our Capitol dome and Governor’s Mansion here,” Gov. Beshear said. “If you still have them, get them out. It’s just something you can do to send more prayers and let people know that we are one Kentucky and that we’re going to stand with these families today, tomorrow, next week, next month and next year to get them back on their feet.”