Flooding in Kentucky

Severe weather is everywhere, and we certainly have had our share lately. Torrential rains have caused flash floods across the Bluegrass State, resulting in widespread power outages, damaged homes, destroyed vehicles, impassable roads and four deaths. When flood waters finally recede, the headache isn’t over. Cleaning up in thick mud with buzzing mosquitoes, thriving mold and possible sewage contamination can be a nightmare. In noncoastal areas like our landlocked state, floods happen when natural watercourses do not have the capacity to convey excess water. When the ground is already saturated, additional rain has no place to go. General flooding occurs in urban areas and areas with poor drainage after intense rain. In contrast, flash flooding is a result of heavy localized rainfall such as that from strong, slow-moving thunderstorms and usually occurs within six hours of a heavy rain event.

The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) works with the National Weather Service (NWS) to get weather-related information, alerts and warnings out to the public.
A flash flood or flood watch is issued when current and developing weather conditions may cause flooding but such occurrence is neither certain nor imminent. If flash flooding or flooding is already occurring or imminent within a designated area, the NWS will issue a warning, which means you should get out of areas subject to flooding and avoid areas where flooding has already occurred. An easy way to stay informed is to make sure your smartphone is set to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts from the NWS. These alerts are broadcast by nearby cell towers, which means they are sensitive to your real-time geographic location. The service sends 90-character messages that automatically pop up on your phone using a special ring tone and vibration. The messages will not disrupt text, calls, or data sessions that are in progress and are rebroadcast until the emergency situation has passed. You can also sign to receive text message alerts from KYEM by texting “follow kyempio” to the number 40404. Protect yourself and your family by being prepared today. Here are a few tips to remember:
  • Have a communication plan in case family members become separated from one another.
  • Assemble an emergency kit.
  • Know and practice the evacuation routes from your home and work.
  • Obey evacuation orders.
  • If you are outdoors, climb to higher ground and stay there.
  • If you have time to secure your home, bring outdoor furniture and décor inside, move important items to an upper level, and unplug appliances.
  • If you are concerned about flooding, have a professional install check-valves in plumbing to prevent flood waters from backing up into the drains of your home, make sure your sump pump is working, and buy flood insurance since standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding.
  • Don’t try to walk or drive through floodwaters. It is very easy to misjudge the depth. It only takes six inches of swift moving water to knock a person off balance and two feet to sweep a car off of the road.
  • The KYEM reminds people to “Turn Around – Don’t Drown.”
If you are trying to put your life back together after a flood or have more questions about this topic, trust your case to the Pikeville, KY-based Johnson Law Firm. We are ready to provide you with a free and confidential initial consultation. Contact us by calling 606-437-4488 or filling out our online form.

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