Sunday, August 05, 2001

1 dead, 1 missing in eastern Ky. floods

Homes damaged, bridges washed out

By Roger Alford
The Associated Press

        PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Searchers continued looking for a woman declared missing in flash flooding that claimed the life of one man and devastated parts of eastern Kentucky on Friday and Saturday.

        The torrents inundated homes, washed away bridges and blocked roads. Hundreds of people were stranded in their homes and cars as heavy rains sent flash floods rushing through mountain communities.

[photo] Jonah Isaacs Jr. of Teaberry surveys the damage to his home and yard Saturday from flash floods.
(Associated Press photo)
| ZOOM |
        The missing woman, whom police did not identify, exited her vehicle, which stalled just before 11 p.m. EDT Friday in high water from flooding on Indian Creek in Pike County, Kentucky State Police said. The area is in the Robinson Creek community about 10 miles south of Pikeville.

        Leslie Howell Jr., 31, of the Hurricane Creek area in Pike County, died when his four-wheel all-terrain vehicle stalled out and turned over, and he was swept down Hurricane Creek in Boldman about seven miles north of Pikeville around 9:30 p.m. Friday, police said.

        Sgt. Lynn Cross of the Pikeville state police post said another man in Floyd County was found alive Saturday after he was swept away and reported missing.

        The National Weather Service said the storm dumped more than 4 inches of rain on portions of Pike and Floyd counties. Downpours and subsequent flooding also were reported in Letcher, Perry, Harlan and Leslie counties early Saturday.

        Most roadways in Pike, Floyd and Harlan counties that had been closed because of flooding were reopened Saturday afternoon. Some that had been chewed away by the rushing waters remained impassable. Many became caked with a layer of dry mud when the sun and hot temperatures returned. Crews worked throughout the afternoon clearing debris from roads, including a wooden bridge that washed onto and partially blocked Kentucky 979.

        Emergency crews and the American Red Cross were assessing the damage, Ray Bowman of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management said in a statement. Pike, Floyd and Perry counties were the hardest hit by the flooding, while Leslie, Harlan and Letcher counties suffered minor flooding.

        Gov. Paul Patton was scheduled to make an aerial tour Saturday and meet with local officials who issued disaster declarations, said Patrick Conley, a spokesman for the Division of Emergency Management.



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