TOP STORIES At least 25 people have died in flooding in...

At least 25 people have died in flooding in Kentucky, the governor said.

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A Perry County school bus is destroyed after it hit Lost Creek floodwaters in Ned, Kentucky on Friday.

Timothy D. Isley/AP


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Timothy D. Isley/AP


A Perry County school bus is destroyed after it hit Lost Creek floodwaters in Ned, Kentucky on Friday.

Timothy D. Isley/AP

FRANKFORT, Kentucky. The Kentucky governor said it could take weeks to find all victims of the flash floods that killed at least 25 people as heavy rains flooded Appalachian cities.

Gov. Andy Beshear said on Saturday that the death toll is likely to rise significantly as a result of record flash floods over the past few days.

“This is an ongoing natural disaster,” Beshear told Fox News. “We are still operating in search and rescue mode. Luckily, the rain has stopped. But from Sunday afternoon the rain will intensify.

Meanwhile, rescue teams continue to fight to get into hard-hit areas, some of the poorest in America. According to the governor, the crews performed more than 1,200 rescue operations from helicopters and boats.

The rain stopped early Friday after parts of eastern Kentucky received 8 to 10 1/2 inches (20 to 27 centimeters) of rain in 48 hours. But some waterways were not expected to peak until Saturday.

Patricia Colombo, 63, of Hazard, Kentucky, was stranded when her car stalled in flood waters on a state highway. Colombo began to panic as water gushed into her. Although her phone was switched off, she saw a helicopter overhead and waved it down. The helicopter crew contacted the ground crew, who pulled her to safety.

Colombo stayed overnight at her fiancé’s home in Jackson, and they took turns sleeping, repeatedly testing the water with flashlights to see if it was rising. While her car was a loss, Colombo said others in a region where poverty is endemic had it worse.

“Many of these people cannot recover here. Their houses are half under water, they have lost everything,” she said.

This is the latest in a string of catastrophic floods that hit parts of the US this summer, including St. Louis earlier this week and again on Friday. Scientists warn that climate change is making extreme weather more frequent.

As the rains hit Appalachia this week, water rushed down hillsides into valleys and depressions, where it filled streams and creeks that flow through small towns. The flood swept through homes and businesses, and also smashed cars. Landslides threw some people onto steep slopes.

Rescue teams, backed by the National Guard, used helicopters and boats to search for the missing. Beshear said on Friday that at least six children were among the victims and that the total death toll could more than double as rescue teams reach more areas. Among the dead were four children from the same family in Knott County, the county coroner said.

President Joe Biden said in a social media post that he spoke with Beshear on Friday and offered support from the federal government. Biden also declared a federal disaster to send money to help more than a dozen Kentucky counties.

The flooding spread to western Virginia and southern West Virginia.

Gov. Jim Justice has declared a state of emergency in six West Virginia counties, where floods have uprooted trees, cut power and blocked roads. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin also declared a state of emergency, allowing authorities to mobilize resources in the state’s flooded southwest.

More than 20,000 utility customers in Kentucky and nearly 6,100 in Virginia were left without power late Friday night, poweroutage.us reported.

Extreme rainfall has become more frequent as climate change bakes the planet and changes weather patterns, scientists say.
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This is an increasing problem for officials during disasters because the models used to predict the impact of hurricanes are partly based on past events and cannot keep up with increasingly damaging flash floods and heat waves like those that have recently hit the north. -West Pacific and southern plains.

“There is a battle of extremes going on in the United States right now,” said University of Oklahoma meteorologist Jason Furtado. “We expect this to happen due to climate change… A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, which means you can increase the amount of heavy rainfall.”

The flooding came two days after record rains around St. Louis fell more than 12 inches (31 centimeters) and killed at least two people. Last month, heavy rain on mountain snow in Yellowstone National Park triggered historic flooding and the evacuation of more than 10,000 people. In both cases, rain floods far exceeded weather forecasts.

Floyd County Executive Judge Robbie Williams said the flood waters raging through the Appalachians were so fast that some people stuck in their homes could not be reached immediately.

To the west, in hard-hit Perry County, authorities said some people were missing and almost everyone in the area was affected to some extent.

“We still have a lot of searching ahead of us,” said Jerry Stacy, the county’s emergency director.

More than 330 people have taken refuge, Beshir said. And because the property damage was so significant, the governor opened an online donation portal for the victims.

Beshear predicted that a full recovery would take more than a year.

Sections of at least 28 state roads in Kentucky were blocked due to flooding or landslides. Rescue teams in Virginia and West Virginia worked to reach people where the roads were impassable.

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