Death toll rises to 15 after Eastern Kentucky flooding: ‘We may have even lost entire families’

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Friday morning that the death toll has risen to 15 after torrential rains flooded Eastern Kentucky, destroying hundreds of homes and wiping out entire communities.

Search and rescue teams, with the help of the National Guard, were searching for missing people Friday after record floods washed through the region. The governor declared a state of emergency.

Beshear, in a video posted to Twitter, said children were likely included in the death count and that the number is expected to grow to “probably more than double.”

“We know some of the loss will include children,” Beshear said. “We may have even lost entire families.”

More rain was expected Friday and into the weekend after more than 6 inches of rain fell in some counties Wednesday night into Thursday. Meteorologist Brandon Bonds with the National Weather Service in Jackson said it won’t take much more rain to “cause even more damage.” A flood watch or warning was expected to stay in effect for many of the areas that saw the worst of the flooding.

More than 200 people have sought shelter, Beshear said. The National Guard has mobilized.

“In a word, this event is devastating, and I do believe it will end up being one of the most significant deadly floods that we have had in Kentucky in at least a very long time,” Beshear said Thursday.

On Friday morning, Beshear said the state completed hundreds of rescues, with about 50 air rescues and hundreds of boat rescues. The flooding has left over 23,000 Kentuckians without power and several counties without access to water, Beshear said.

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