Harlan County was hit hard by severe storms that tore through the region Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, washing out bridges, flooding roads and causing extensive damage.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley said several inches of rain fell in a short time over much of the county.
“Nearly 4 inches of rain fell over a three hour period in the District 1 and District 2 areas of Harlan County,” Mosley said. “Many roads were washed out and bridges were completely thrown off the beams effortlessly by the force of the raging waters.”
Damage included a bridge on Dillon Road near Bledsoe that was washed away, as well as a bridge at Wilson Court and U.S. 421 intersection at the foot of the Harlan side of Pine Mountain.
“We are working diligently to get temporary passages installed until we can achieve a long-term solution in many of the areas impacted,” Mosley said.
According to the National Weather Service website, while much of the focus is on tornadoes, wind and hail, there are more deaths caused each year by the flooding and lightning associated with severe weather. The NWS advises if you hear thunder or see lightning, go indoors immediately. Heavy rainfall from thunderstorms can quickly cause rivers and streams to overrun their banks and cause street flooding in cities. Remember, if you encounter a flooded roadway, do not drive or walk into it.
According to a press release from the American Red Cross, there are several things people can do to stay safe during severe weather, such as:
• Making an Emergency Plan: Household members should designate a safe place for everyone to go in case of severe weather. Pick a location away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail. Plans should include protecting pets and having emergency supplies for them.
• Creating an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Pack a first aid kit, at least a three-day supply of water and foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration, a seven-day supply of essential medications, manual can opener, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of important documents like insurance policies, cell phone chargers, family and emergency contact information, maps of the area and other emergency items. Customize the kit for any household members with special needs.
• Heeding Storm Warnings: A storm watch means severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the designated area. People in a watch area should keep informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. A storm warning means severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.
Visit weather.gov/lightningsafety and weather.gov/floodsafety for more safety tips and information.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde