Family of 4 escapes flood

Published 5:35 pm Thursday, June 28, 2018

Flash flooding in Harlan County on Tuesday left a family of four stranded in their home until crews could utilize a ramp as a temporary bridge so the family could cross the water to safety.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley explained the situation which occurred at the Kelly residence.

“They sell state surplus properties, and they had these ramps that the military used to load equipment,” Mosley said.

Mosley said he had acquired the ramp to use as a temporary walking bridge in the event of a washout.

“I got it a year and a half ago, and it cost $1,100,” Mosley said. “Last night, it was worth every penny, because we were able to use a backhoe and excavator and lift it over the creek and set it down to create a temporary bridge so we could get those people out.”

Mosley said there were three adults and one infant in the residence, including one individual who had recently had open heart surgery.

“He had only been home a couple of weeks and has to be able to get to medical appointments, so we’ll leave that there until we can reconstruct a crossing,” Mosley said. “It definitely proved to be a good investment. This was the perfect opportunity to see it in action.”

Tuesday’s flash flooding is the latest in a line of severe weather events which have impacted the county in the last few years.

“In February of 2015, we had a significant snowfall event with over 15 inches of snow, plus an ice storm, some flooding, water outages, power outages, and abandoned mine rupture, all that happened in a three-week period,” Mosley said. “In June of 2016, we had a flash flooding event very similar to this one over in the Bledsoe community. In the fall of 2016, we had a significant forest fire. In 2017, we had a flood event in April that impacted the Smith community up above Martin’s Fork Lake. Then, in February of this year, we had a flood. We’ve had quite a few significant weather events over the last several years.”

Mosley added many areas across the nation have also experienced severe weather events in the last few years.

“There are some strange things going on in the weather world,” Mosley said. “But here as a community, we just have to be always prepared to respond. We don’t have a magic wand to stop the rain or stop the flooding, but we do have the resources to be able to respond and help people that have been impacted by it.”

Mosley mentioned everybody should keep an emergency preparedness kit in case of emergencies.

“It doesn’t matter if you live next to a creek or on top of a mountain,” Mosley said. “You could very easily be impacted by some type of significant weather event. Everyone should have an emergency preparedness kit with water, medications, non-perishable food items, a first aid kit. You should be able to live on your own for at least three days.”