Rain brings misery to Harlan

Published 11:46 am Sunday, February 11, 2018

Rain and more rain has brought devastation to Harlan County over the past couple of days, with more rain continuing to be in the forecast.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley declared a state of emergency for the county late Saturday night due to flooding conditions.

He made the following public post on Facebook Sunday morning at 8:30:

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“Good morning. It’s been a long heart wrenching 24 hours for the people of Harlan County. We remain under a flood warning. The river level at Baxter had dropped to 19.5 feet at 6:00 a.m. but has now risen back to 20.0 feet, likely due to the heavy band of rain that came through between 3:00 and 6:00.

Many Roads are still flooded and closed. Don’t attempt to travel through high water. Many rescues had to take place overnight due to people who did. Fortunately, nobody was hurt or killed.

We still have a couple of power outages on Cloverfork impacting about 350 customers.

Later today, my damage assessment team will start the process of documenting all damage to public and private property. If you have damage to your home, business, or see something that looks damaged on a road or a bridge, please report it to my office at 573-2600 so that it can be included in our assessment. It’s important to document everything should we qualify for an emergency declaration from the state and federal government.

If you have an issue with a county road please call 573-6536. If you have an issue with a state road report it to the state highway department at 573-1710.

Please continue to remember the crews out working today in your prayers. Everyone is operating on very little sleep. I fell asleep in my office chair for about 5 minutes and then my phone started ringing, but that few minutes seemed to give me a boost. I’ll update you if anything changes.”

The National Weather Service has extended a flood warning for the Cumberland River at Baxter until 2 a.m. Monday. A flood warning “means that flooding is occurring or is imminent.”

At midnight Sunday morning the stage was 22.1 feet and the flood stage is 16 feet, according to the NWS. Major flooding is occurring and major flooding is forecast.

A flood watch is in effect until 3 p.m. Sunday for Harlan and Bell counties.

The Enterprise will have updates as they come in.

The NWS suggests to continue to monitor local media and take necessary precautions.