High water in Jackson Co. causes further concerns with more rain likely to come

High water in Jackson Co. causes further concerns with more rain likely to come
Published: Aug. 6, 2022 at 11:12 PM EDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Jackson County Emergency Management says the rapidly rising waters throughout the county threatened to flood several homes and businesses, and led to multiple rescue calls.

Brody Keck is the deputy director and says the severe flash flooding they saw Saturday morning had some citizens fearing the worst, with last week’s devastation still fresh on their minds.

“It seems like everything just happens at once,” said Keck, who took control of Saturday’s situation because their director had gone to help with search and rescue efforts in Letcher County.

Keck says hundreds were without power due to the storms. However, he says that all of those issues were resolved through the day.

Keck added that two rescue calls came in. One was on East Water Street in McKee around 9 am Saturday, but the residents ultimately were able to get themselves to safety. The other was for ATV drivers who had gotten stuck out on trails overnight.

“They went in last night before the rain hit and they had some kind of either mechanical failure or had something happen to where they had to stay,” Keck said.

Fortunately, no injuries have been reported, but the McKee Baptist Church couldn’t escape Saturday’s high waters.

“All this area through here, it was just a lake,” said Ron Maharry, who has served as the church’s pastor since 2001.

The church sits at the confluence of two creeks, and multiple inches of water got into its basement. Even still, Maharry calls it just a minor inconvenience compared to what other Kentucky counties have faced.

”We realized it’s not going to get any worse, we were blessed, and then of course our thoughts and concerns were always with our Eastern Kentucky neighbors,” Maharry said.

While the high waters have receded for now, Maharry and Keck both worry about the toll that more rainfall can take on the waterways of Jackson County.

“Our creek systems they can’t handle another inch,” said Keck. “They can’t handle another quarter of an inch as far as that goes.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me if the next heavy rain we get, the water comes back in our basement,” said Maharry. “There’s just nowhere for it to go.”

Keck says some in the county are accustomed to flash flooding so they stay aware of their surroundings. But they’re just praying for the seemingly relentless rain to leave this ravaged region.

”We need some dry days, that’s what we need,” Maharry said.

Maharry says while some bible study classes may be cancelled, they are still holding their Sunday service despite this setback.

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