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Appalachian floods kill at least 15 as rescue teams deploy

Flood waters cover West Main Street in Hindman, Kentucky.
Katie Myers
Flood waters cover West Main Street in Hindman, Kentucky.

Search and rescue teams backed by the National Guard are searching flooded Appalachian communities for missing people. Record floods have wiped out entire communities in some of the poorest places in America.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said 15 people have died, a toll he expects to grow as the rain keeps falling.


The Kentucky River crested six feet above its previous record. Entire towns that hug creeks and streams in narrow valleys were swallowed up. The water swept vehicles into useless piles, crunched runaway equipment against bridges and swamped homes and businesses.

Mudslides on steep slopes have left many people marooned and without power, making rescues difficult. Beshear said on Twitter emergency teams made about 50 air rescues and hundreds of boat rescues.

Anyone looking for missing people in Breathitt, Knott, Letcher or Perry counties should call Kentucky State Police Post 13 at 606-435-6069 instead of 911.

Amina Elahi contributed to this story.

Amina Elahi is LPM's City Editor. Email Amina at aelahi@lpm.org.

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