Updated Aug 1, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Kentucky flooding death toll rises to at least 37

A residential neighborhood that was hit by flooding in Jackson, Kentucky, on July 30.
A residential neighborhood that was hit by flooding in Jackson, Kentucky, on July 30. Photo: Michael Swensen/Getty Images

At least 37 people died in Kentucky from the catastrophic flooding in Appalachia last week, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.

The latest: Beshear said at a press conference earlier Monday that the death toll was likely to increase because the state knew of "additional bodies" beyond the confirmed tally at that time.

  • 16 people were killed in Knott County, seven in Breathitt County, two in Letcher County, three in Perry County and two in Clay County.
  • At least four children were among those killed. Beshear previously said six children were killed, but two victims were later identified as adults.
  • More than 13,000 customers were still without power as of Monday morning, according to poweroutage.us.

What they're saying: "There are hundreds of unaccounted-for people, minimum. We just don't have a firm grasp on that. I wish we did. There are a lot of reasons why that's nearly impossible," Beshear said, referring to efforts to release an accurate count of missing people.

  • "We have a total of 150 displaced folks that are housed at our state parks at the moment, and there are at least that amount at Red Cross shelters," he added.
  • Beshear said the state was moving east dozens of travel trailers that it used in the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes that struck western Kentucky in 2021, to serve as temporary housing.

The big picture: Several counties in eastern Kentucky were under flash-flood warnings and flood warnings and advisories Monday morning as the region received additional heavy rainfall Sunday.

The backdrop: Human-caused climate change is make heavy precipitation events more common and more intense in these regions, along with much of the world, as warm air holds more moisture and warmer oceans add more water vapor to the atmosphere, per Axios' Andrew Freedman.

Go deeper ... Axios Today podcast: Kentucky's Deadly Flooding

Go deeper