Heavy rains have caused extensive flooding and mudslides in eastern Kentucky, killing at least eight people on Thursday.
"In a word, this event is devastating," Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said. "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."
Rescuers have been using boats and helicopters to help people evacuate their homes, with some residents waiting for them on rooftops. In Perry County, floodwaters have washed out roads and bridges, and several houses have been knocked off their foundations, WKYT reports. Jerry Stacy, the county's emergency management director, told The Associated Press that "extreme flash flooding and mudslides are just everywhere," and it's a "catastrophic event." Stacy, 54, added that he's lived in Perry County "all my life and this is by far the worst even I've ever seen."
There is also flooding in western Virginia and southern West Virginia, where Gov. Jim Justice (R) has declared a state of emergency for six counties. There have been dozens of water rescues in both states, with residents reporting extensive property damage from flooding and downed trees. This is a slow-moving storm system, and the National Weather Service said with the rain continuing overnight, additional flooding is possible into Friday.