Emergency Management Says Unforeseen Hazards Require Caution
MORGANTOWN, Ky. – Ffloodwaters and debris have previously caused unknown damage in eastern Kentucky, but beyond the obvious and unforeseen dangers lie beneath these floodwaters.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officer Ethan Vincent witnessed the damage.
“It’s devastating,” Vincent said. “You’re talking to someone who’s lived there all their life, who was born and raised there. They were proud to be from this community, just like us here.
Vincent, among other conservation workers, uses boats, UTVs and ATVs to conduct welfare checks in Eastern Kentucky
In some areas, mudslides are blocking roads – road tiles long since washed away – leaving walking or climbing as the only options.
“Residents were trying to clean up. You would see between two and six inches of mud inside the residence during the flood,” described
Vincent could only compare the damage to the killer Kentucky tornado in 2021.
“The two incidents are eerily similar. See the impact of the wind, then go out to the East and see the impact of what the water can do.
Although water and debris are the most obvious hazards, this type of flooding has caused many other safety hazards.
Glasgow/Barren’s Director of Emergency Management Tracy Shirley warns that live wires from buildings or power lines pose a serious threat.
In addition, flooding at this point causes sewage to overflow. This risk of bacterial contamination is only aggravated by the lack of potable water in Eastern Kentucky.
Chemicals are another contaminant. When floodwaters hit barns in eastern Kentucky, herbicides and pesticides that aren’t safe for human skin joined everything else in the water.
Shirley offers two tips.
“If you know the lay of the land by heart, don’t take any risks navigating through floodplains. What you don’t know is that the water may have washed away part of the pavement, and you are unaware of it. On the roads, in particular, we always preach: “Turn around, don’t drown”.
And if you’re willing to help in person, coordinate with an authorized agency to see what they need, instead of showing up solo.
“Any help you can give them, I’m all for it. But what we don’t need are people who just show up unprepared, untrained. They need to know who they have so they can organize them and get them where they need to be.