Flash Flooding in Floyd County

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floodingFeb2003.jpg (13952 bytes) Flooding in Martin, KY area Feb. 2003

Submitted by Renee DeRossett Thornsberry

martin2003.jpg (9948 bytes) Flooding in Martin, KY area Feb. 2003

Submitted by Renee DeRossett Thornsberry

 

An aerial view of Tinker Fork, left, shows the widespread damage raging floodwaters caused to anything in their path. Bridges, buildings and roads all gave way under the tides, causing millions of dollars in damages and resulting in disaster declarations by County Judge-Executive paul Hunt Thompson and Gov. Paul Patton

God’s Appalachian Partnership (GAP) assisted the owner of this home on Mud Creek Monday afternoon by shoveling mud left behind by weekend flood waters. Mud Creek was one of the hardest hit areas in the county resulting in power outages and lost water services as well as extensive road damages. 

These volunteers from the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief Team visited the Akers residence yesterday to remove carpet saturated by flood waters. Other Kentucky Baptist volunteers are currently working in homes throughout the McDowell and Mud Creek areas. Pictured are volunteers O.A. Collins (sweeping) and Carl Leech.
Furniture and household items lining Donald Tackett’s front lawn at his home on Mud Creek stood as a stark reminder of the destructive powers of Friday evening’s flash floods. Floyd County PVA Connie Hancock visited Tackett on Monday to take an initial assessment of the damages in hopes of providing tax relief

A large culvert swept up in Friday night’s torrent lay warped and wedged beneath a small bridge on Tinker Fork of Mud Creek Monday afternoon while efforts were made to raise a fallen utility pole nearby.

 

A Tinker Fork residental bridge lay in a crumbled mass Monday, one of an estimated 149 such spans which were either destroyed or damaged countywide during weekend flash floods which dumped approximately five inches of water in a little under six hours.
Tinker Fork Road in Teaberry, Ky., seen Saturday, Aug. 4, 2001, was washed out by flash flooding caused by heavy rain. One man was killed and a woman was declared missing in the flooding that devastated parts of eastern Kentucky on Friday and Saturday. (AP Photo/Rhonda Simpson)

Associated Press

Jonah Isaacs, Jr. of Teaberry, Ky., stands in his yard Saturday, Aug. 4, 2001 surveying the damage where 1 to 2 feet of rocks and mud flooded in Friday night. Flash flooding that devastated parts of eastern Kentucky on Friday and Saturday. (AP Photo/Rhonda Simpson)

Jonah_Issaca_mud.jpg (19805 bytes)

flood_front.jpg (21899 bytes)A massive search along winding Pike County creeks yesterday turned up a boot, a shirt and a pager belonging to a woman who vanished in floodwaters while trying to flee her stalled car.
covart.gif (32124 bytes)  Jerry Hopkins, left, whose wife, Andrea, was missing in the flash floods, Daniel Bartley and Freddie Cole used a boat to search for Andrea yesterday.
(AP)

GRETHEL -- More than 150 volunteers combed 120 miles of creek and riverbanks yesterday, searching for a Pike County woman authorities think was swept away Friday night when devastating flash floods ripped through some Eastern Kentucky counties.

Outside his father's house in Hi Hat yesterday, Ted Hall, with his son, Zachary, 11, behind him, examined a driveway that collapsed into the creek running below it. Heavy rains inundated parts of Eastern Kentucky Friday night and early yesterday. (Mark Cornelison)

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flood1.jpg (17269 bytes) Rhodi Hall, of Red Morg Branch in Floyd County, waded through floodwaters that washed out her driveway and part of her yard yesterday.
flood3.jpg (68276 bytes) Pike man dies in Friday flooding

A Pike County man was killed and a woman was missing after torrential rains and flash flooding Friday evening throughout Eastern Kentucky left roads impassable and stranded people in their homes and vehicles, authorities said. Leslie Howell Jr., 31, of Coon Branch near Pikeville, died when his four-wheel all-terrain vehicle stalled and turned over, and he was swept down Hurricane Creek near Pikeville around 10 p.m., police said. Kentucky State Police Sgt. Lynn Cross of Pikeville’s Post 9 said Howell and another man were riding an ATV in the area when they tried to cross a flooded roadway. When they were unable to cross, the men panicked, Cross said, and jumped off the vehicles. Witnesses said when Howell attempted to recover one of the vehicles, he was overcome by swiftly moving water and pulled under. Howell’s body was found downstream an hour later, and resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful, police said. He was pronounced dead by Pike Coroner Charles Morris at Pikeville Methodist Hospital. Morris said results of an autopsy on Howell’s body are pending. The fire department was still looking for a woman who was swept away by waters after she exited her vehicle. Police had not revealed the woman’s identity officially, as os presstime. The woman had exited her vehicle, which had stalled just before 11 p.m. Friday night in high water from flooding on Indian Creek. KSP Post 9 Sgt. Steve Slone said police were continuing to search many still-swelled area waterways late yesterday afternoon for the woman. “We’re not assuming that she’s dead, we’re just trying to find her,” Cross said. Slone said police had contacted family members of the missing woman, but at their request, her identity was not being released to the media as of presstime yesterday afternoon. Slone also said he planned to work with area fire and rescue officials to develop a description of the woman to possibly aid in locating her. The storm dumped more than four inches of rain on the area, the National Weather Service said, while heavy rain was also reported in Letcher, Perry, Harlan and Leslie counties early yesterday. Pike Judge-Executive Karen Gibson declared a local state of emergency yesterday morning over Friday’s flooding, which she said was made worse because some areas have already been hit by other bouts of flash flooding several times over the past four weeks. Gibson’s office in the Pike County Courthouse was buzzing with activity yesterday afternoon as state emergency officials visited the county to begin preliminary inspections into the damage the flood waters caused. Present there yesterday afternoon was W.R. Padgett, director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, who said some amount of state and federal assistance could be on its way to Pike to assist in repairs to roads damaged by the rushing waters. Padgett also said Gov. Paul Patton was to arrive at the Pike County Regional Airport yesterday evening to begin a tour of Pike and other Eastern Kentucky counties which suffered heavy flood damage. At that time, officials were to present Patton information collected yesterday on the flooding to assist him in determining how much flood assistance could come the county’s way, Padgett said. Some of that funding likely will go toward road repairs and damage assistance in the flood-sacked areas of Hurricane Creek, Robinson Creek and Kimper, which reported some of the heaviest flash flooding during Friday’s downpours. Little Robinson Creek, police said, still was closed off to traffic as of late yesterday afternoon. One resident who was stuck in the middle of one of the worst flash floods locally was Lois Ratliff. Ratliff said she woke to her daughter’s screaming Friday night. Ratliff then looked out her door, and saw a deluge of water rushing down Hurricane Creek. “It scared me so bad I started crying,” she said. Ratliff’s own home wasn’t damaged, but Hurricane Creek residents saw a night where their drain tiles and driveways were washed away, trailers knocked loose from their foundations and cars ended up submerged by the creek. One of her neighbors almost became another casualty, she added, when he tried to drive through the water. He was swept away, and if he hadn’t been pushed to a place where he could get out, he would have drowned, Ratliff said. “It was extremely terrible,” she said. “It still looks really bad here. The farther up you go, the worse it gets.” The same holds true for residents near Johns Creek, Stinking Branch, Kimper and Grapevine Creek, which also saw large amounts of water create muddy washouts and crumble blacktop to bits Friday about 9 p.m. “It’s a disaster of epic proportions,” said Johns Creek resident Johnny Daniels. “We’ve never seen anything like it.” “We need help in Johns Creek and Hurricane, and plenty of it,” said Jeanette Daniels. Hurricane resident Troy Slone said material from abandoned mine works had slid down the hillside onto the back of his mobile home, and behind that area and down the creek, the entire mountain is in danger of sliding into about three more houses. Massive mudslides already had pushed one mobile home from its foundation and into a nearby roadway there. Floodwaters in much of the area were beginning to recede by midmorning yesterday. Police reported a man in neighboring Floyd County was found yesterday after he was swept away by floodwaters and reported missing. Officials said Pike, Floyd and Perry counties were the hardest hit by the flooding, while Leslie, Harlan and Letcher counties suffered minor flooding. Patrick Conley, a spokesman with the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, said Floyd County had also been declared in a state of emergency due to flooding on Mud Creek, Left Beaver Creek and several minor creeks. Conley said local officials reported the worst damage to Ky. 979 in the Branhams Creek Road area. Early estimates, Conley said, showed that some amounts of water had affected as many as 200 homes in Floyd County. Four different shelters had been set up in the county to house those flooded out of their homes. Pikeville’s Post 9 had received at least 100 reports of people stranded in their homes or cars Friday night. Editor’s note: The Associated Press and Grapevine resident James O. Bevins contributed to this report.

Associated Press

Brenda Casey, 17, of Springfield, Mo., uses a broom to sweep mud from a garage at Grethel, Ky., Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2001. Casey was one of a group of volunteers from Southgate Baptist Church who came to eastern Kentucky to help clean up after the floods swept through the area. Flooding hit the state's coal counties when 4 to 5 inches of rain fell on portions of the region Friday and Saturday. (AP Photo/Rhonda Simpson)

Associated Press

Melvin McCoy, a Pike County road foreman, walks along a road in Kimper, Ky., Monday, Aug. 6, 2001, where a trailer was pushed into the road by a mudslide during a rainstorm, Friday night, Aug. 3, 2001. Kentucky authorities said flooding there caused millions of dollars in damage and probably damaged more than 1,000 homes. (AP Photo/Rhonda Simpson)