Now that floodwaters have begun to drop, Whitley County officials are starting to tabulate the damage from the flood of 2019.
Whitley County Emergency Management Director Danny Moses said late Monday afternoon that local officials don’t have a monetary estimate on flood damage yet because “some roads are still under water.”
At least 10 Whitley County roads have broken off or slipped and another four roads have had landslides on them, Moses said.
“I am sure there is more than that. Those are the ones I am aware of,” he added.
Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White Jr. verbally declared a disaster declaration over the weekend.
“On Monday, I officially signed the disaster declaration to send to Frankfort,” White said. “We’ve seen flooding in many different areas of the county. We’ve also had several road slides. Our crews have been working around the clock to make sure roads are passable if possible.”
Gov. Matt Bevin has declared a statewide emergency in response declarations by 36 counties and 11 cities, according to a press release from his office Monday.
The Cumberland River in Williamsburg crested at 28.57 feet at 5 a.m. Monday, which is the 22 highest river crest in Williamsburg since 1886, according to the National Weather Service.
The Cumberland River is considered to be a flood stage in Williamsburg at 21 feet. Moderate flood stage is 27.5 feet and major flood stage is at 32 feet.
The Cumberland River is projected to drop below flood stage Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service.
“As far as I know, no homes have been under water that is always a good thing,” Moses added.
Whitley County officials have had to rescue one person by boat due to high water.
Moses said that one gentleman got his vehicle stuck in high water Monday in Knox County on Highway 779. Knox County officials couldn’t get to him so Woodbine Fire and Rescue used a boat to pick up the man, and take him to a waiting ambulance on the Whitley County side of the roadway.
In addition, first responders also recovered a stolen vehicle stuck in floodwaters on Louden Road Monday morning that thieves had apparently abandoned.
Moses said that the worst two slides in Whitley County has been the one on Ky. 92E, which started Saturday and either the state or state contractors are cleaning up, and the one on Bunch’s Creek that began on Feb. 9.
Moses said county officials have been dealing with the slide about every other day, and in addition to mud and debris sliding onto the roadway, a portion of the road itself has now broken off.
“I want to thank all the first responders and road crews that have been working in these challenging conditions. Our crews are dedicated to protecting the citizens of Whitley County,” White noted.
Moses said most of the flooding has been around the usual low lying areas, which are commonly affected by high water, “and a few new ones.”