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Eastern KY flood death toll rises, roads begin to reopen but more rain is on the way.

Road washed out by flooding in eastern Kentucky
Zachary Caudill
Road washed out by flooding in eastern Kentucky

Kentucky’s death toll from recent flooding has increased to at least 35 confirmed fatalities. During a press conference Monday, Governor Beshear expressed concern that number will continue to rise for days and even weeks. He did say there is some good news coming out eastern Kentucky. Cell service is beginning to come back on which he hopes will help them find those listed as missing.

And he says roads are also beginning to open.

“Pikeville Highway district, all state routes are passable. That includes 13 disaster counties, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Letcher, Martin, Pike. I will say, especially in Knott County, some of county roads we were on were eaten up. What water can do to a road is incredible.”

The governor says road repairs are beginning Monday in the Jackson Highway District. That includes Breathitt, Magoffin, Owsley, Perry, and Wolfe Counties.

However, he said while the roads are opening back up, bridges are something else they must consider.

“So far 627 bridges in the counties have been inspected but these are only the public bridges. A lot of these people live on the other side of what we might call a creek or something even larger and those are private bridges and they’re gone. It’s going to present an enormous challenge in rebuilding.”

More rain is called for and the National Weather Service in Jackson has issued a flood watch has been issued and will be in place until 9AM Tuesday morning.

Stan Ingold is WEKU's News Director. He has worked in public broadcasting for 18 years, starting at Morehead State Public Radio before spending the past 10 years at Alabama Public Radio. Stan has been honored with numerous journalism awards for his public radio reporting.
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