Record-breaking rainfall in western Kentucky caused chaos Wednesday, as 11.28 inches of rain fell in 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
The NWS and Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a flash flood emergency for the western Kentucky towns of Mayfield, Bardwell and Wickliffe. The situation is being described as “life-threatening” due to extreme flooding throughout homes and other infrastructure, with multiple residents being stranded and in need of water rescues, according to the NWS.
🚨#BREAKING: Life threatening flash flood emergency has been declared in western Kentucky
The National Weather Service has declared a flash flood emergency for Mayfield, Bardwell, and Wickliffe Kentucky. They’re calling this a life-threatening situation… pic.twitter.com/g6k1te9d8f
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) July 19, 2023
Damage to roadways has hindered the speed of some rescues, with the Graves County Sheriff’s Office telling residents to stay off the roads altogether. The situation is being described as “catastrophic” as more than 11 inches of rain have washed away entire sections of road.
This is the result of over 10” of rain in less than 12” hours. I have to think our severe drought played a role in this you may not realize initially. Ground was sooooo dry, lot of this may have never had chance to seep into the ground soil and ran off even more. Making the… pic.twitter.com/SAFMzjgAEy
— Noah Bergren (@NbergWX) July 19, 2023
The previous record of 10.48 inches of rain in the region was set back in 1997, with Wednesday’s downpours beating the record by almost a full inch, according to the NWS. Another slew of showers and heavy thunderstorms are anticipated throughout the rest of Thursday but a brief break is expected through the weekend, NWS forecast in another tweet. (RELATED: ‘Extremely Dangerous And Long-Duration’ Catastrophe Hits The Southwest, NWS Says)
No injuries or deaths have been reported from the Mayfield area at the time of writing. Another southwestern Kentucky town was hit with a series of tornados in December 2021, which killed at least seven children on one street and dozens more across multiple U.S. states.