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Perry judge-executive seeking help for Big Creek

By: Matthew Rand Email
By: Matthew Rand Email
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Updated 6/18/13:

PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - As folks on Big Creek Road in Perry County continue to dig mud away from homes and cars, the county's judge-executive says help is on the way. Denny Ray Noble says he is in the process of declaring a state of emergency to open the door for federal assistance.

Mud cakes roads that were once covered with water on Big Creek in Perry County. The water in Big Creek Elementary School crested at more than three feet. County workers were on the scene Tuesday, trying to get a handle on the situation.

"We're just right now trying to get the roads open in case someone gets sick or something like that, get the people back to travelling, and then we'll come back and clean the creeks and the ditches and culverts and try to get everything to going normal," said Noble.

John Hamilton says his front yard looked like a lake Monday night, but other than some uprooted vegetables in the garden, he says his family got off easy.

"For us I mean we've got a little bit of yard damage we can fix," he said. "I know there's some houses on down the creek that have had a really hard time, some cars were totalled, so those people yeah they need the help."

Though damage to some homes on Big Creek was extensive, the judge-executive says help is on the way for folks who need it.

"I'll declare a state of emergency, and I'm in the process of doing that right now," Noble said. "We're kind of right now getting an estimate of what the damages are."

Noble estimates the flood dealt a quarter million dollars' damage to county roads, and more than one million in private property. He says there isn't much anyone can do when flash flooding strikes.

"In this area here, we can't handle that kind of rain at one time. Every time we get that type of rain, four or five inches, it washes a lot of people away."

But with the disaster declaration, Noble hopes the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be able to come in and help folks get back on their feet.

Noble says the governor will have to approve the state of emergency declaration, and cautions help from FEMA could take weeks.

In the mean time, he says he has contacted the Red Cross, which he says has pledged help for people whose homes were flooded.

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Original story 6/17/13:

PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Heavy rain and flooding forced several people from their homes last night in the Big Creek community.

In parts of the county, doppler radar estimated rainfall totals of up to four inches in some places. Now, some folks have a real mess on their hands.

Water, water everywhere, spilling over roads and flooding properties.
That was the scene Monday night on Big Creek Road in Perry County.

"Probably about 20 minutes after it started raining real hard it got up real quick," said neighbor Kevin Combs.

These vehicles were swept several hundred yards from their driveway. Early reports estimate the water was about two feet high or more at the now-flooded Big Creek Elementary School.

"We ordered $14,000 worth of books through the Save the Children project, and just got them processed, but we keep them off the bottom shelf but hopefully it won't get up that high," said Douglas Bryant, a librarian at the school.

Folks we talked to were understandably frustrated as they began cleaning up their homes in the middle of the night. They say they think the county could have done more to prevent flooding in their neighborhood.

"Most of it's on account of the ditches and stuff ain't clean," said Combs. "That water ain't got nowhere to go but to the creek."

As folks living on Big Creek work to dig out of all the mess, sheriff's deputies tell us at least the area was evacuated in time, and thankfully no one was injured. Deputies warn everyone to be careful not to enter flooded areas.

"If you have something washing away don't try to wade out in the water and get it," said deputy Bruce Fields. "The current's really strong. You don't really know how deep it's going to be, especially at night you can't see."

They say the best thing you can do if you are trapped by high water is to call 911.

We also received reports last night of high water in Breathitt County, but no reports of damage.


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