With the Ohio River predicted to crest ten feet above flood stage later this week, Gov. Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency Monday due to the severe storms and flooding that have impacted the state.
Throughout the commonwealth, heavy rains and multiple rounds of severe weather have occurred causing minor rivers to flood. The Ohio and Mississippi Rivers are forecast to have major flooding with the possibility of historic flooding along the rivers at the Kentucky-Tennessee border.
From the governor’s office:
“Today I have issued this declaration in order to make sure our citizens and local officials have all the help they need to prepare and respond to these storms,” said Gov. Beshear. “This declaration opens up the pipelines and the purse strings to enable us to get resources to where they are needed, as quickly as possible. In addition, all of state government has been mobilized to assist Kentuckians in need.”
Gov. Beshear is also prepared to assist Kentucky farmers and consumers.
“My office has already been in contact with the United States Department of Agriculture, and we will request a disaster declaration if flooding causes damage to agricultural lands as is expected,” said Gov. Beshear. “In addition, my office has conferred with the office of Attorney General Jack Conway, and as a result of these conversations, we will be issuing an order to prevent price gouging shortly.”
The Kentucky Emergency Management has activated the Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) at Level II. Another weather system is approaching that the National Weather Service indicates will bring additional heavy rains and the possibility of severe weather through Wednesday.
Additional personnel from the Kentucky National Guard are on duty monitoring the developing situation and fulfilling any requests for assistance.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health and local health departments across the state are prepared to provide support to response efforts as needed. Health officials are reminding residents that contact with flood waters should be avoided whenever possible as they may contain contaminants that could pose health hazards.
Homeowners whose homes sustained water damage are also urged to follow safety recommendations to limit mold damage and ensure proper food handling and storage.
The Transportation Cabinet is providing equipment like pumps, dump trucks and sandbagging machines to counties who have requested them. Crews are also patrolling flood-prone areas and they are ready to respond to additional flooding. They also respond to calls about flooded roads that come from law enforcement or the public at large.
For road closures and conditions, please visit www.511.ky.gov , or call 511.
UPDATE: Here’s a video of the governor’s press conference.