“We’re seeing one of the worst, most devastating flooding events in Kentucky’s history,” Governor Andy Beshear told reporters.
“There are a lot of people in eastern Kentucky on top of roofs waiting to be rescued,” Beshear said.
“There are a number of people that are unaccounted for and I’m nearly certain this is a situation where we are going to lose some of them,” he said. “We expect the loss of life.”
Television station WKYT reported that there had been one flood-related death in Perry County, among the worst-hit parts of the state.
Local television broadcast pictures and video of mangled cars and muddy brown floodwaters reaching the rooftops of houses.
Some areas in eastern Kentucky reported receiving more than eight inches (20 centimeters) of rain in a 24-hour period.
Beshear said a state of emergency had been declared in half a dozen counties and three National Guard helicopters have been deployed to help with rescue efforts.
“There’s a lot of people out there who need help,” he said. “And we’re doing the very best we can to reach each and every one of them.”
“The situation right now is tough,” the governor added.
“Hundreds will lose their homes and this is going to be yet another event that it’s going to take not months, but likely years for many families to rebuild and recover from,” he said.
Beshear said 23,000 people were without power statewide