37 dead in eastern Ky. floods. Rain subsides, but hot weather is in the forecast
The death toll in last week’s flooding that devastated eastern Kentucky has risen to 37 as of Tuesday morning.
While the region received some respite from rains and stayed dry overnight on Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear in his daily news conference said temperatures for the coming days are looking “dangerously hot.”
Beshear said forecasts showed temperatures rising to mid 80s to 90s on Wednesday and Thursday and that the heat index is expected to peak near or above 100 degrees in some parts of eastern Kentucky. Cooling centers have been set up in eight counties.
Power outages are down to 9,686 across the eastern Kentucky region from 13,000 on Monday. Cell service has been completely restored in the region except for a few pockets.
Eleven emergency shelters are housing a total of 429 people currently, according to Beshear. A total of 191 people are temporarily living at state parks and Beshear announced the Buckhorn State Park was now open with power, water and cell service. The Kentucky National Guard and Department of Fish and Wildlife have rescued as many as 1,300 people from dangerous flood conditions in the region.
Renters and homeowners in Breathitt, Clay, Letcher and Perry counties who are affected can apply for individual debt disaster assistance, and Beshear said he was working to make sure additional counties are expected to qualify in the next few days.
FEMA mobile registration centers have been set up in five counties and officials have been going door-to-door for people to submit FEMA claims. The centers are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
FEMA financial assistance may include money for temporary housing, basic home repairs or other uninsured, disaster-related needs such as childcare, transportation and medical, funeral or dental expenses.
Kentucky State Police are taking reports of missing loved ones and continuing wellness checks across communities. Beshear said there was no clear number of unaccounted people available.
Kentuckians in the five counties included in the federal disaster declaration for individual assistance are eligible to request a refund of Kentucky sales taxon building materials up to $6,000 per building.
Beshear said the sales tax refunds are good for purchases made on or after the date of the disaster declaration and directed people to keep receipts and documents.
The Team Eastern Kentucky Relief Fund received 17,925 contributions since last Thursday, totaling $2.3 million in donations.