Families ‘trapped on their roofs overnight’ after catastrophic floods hit US

The flood is on course to be one of the most deadly in the state’s history (Picture: Getty)

Flash-flooding in Kentucky has left eight dead and entire towns submerged beneath the water.

People were forced to clamber onto roofs to avoid the fast-rising water after torrential rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks.

Homes and businesses were inundated across the Appalachia region in the east of the state and there are fears many are still trapped.

Rescue workers are battling to reach communities entirely cut off by the extreme weather and have warned the public the death toll could rise.

Flooding and landslides hit a rural part of the state where many live in small communities perched on hillsides and in remote areas.

Helicopters and boat crews were drafted in to rescue people from stricken towns and villages across eastern Kentucky and into Virginia. 

With roads to remote settlements cut off, trapped families may have to wait for the water to recede before help can reach them.

Kentucky governor Andy Beshear said: ‘In a word, this event is devastating

Roads in small towns like Right Beaver Creek were completely submerged by fast-moving water (Picture: Reuters)
Boats have been used to navigates roads and lakes turned into rivers and lakes in a matter of hours (Picture: Getty)
The floods have been described as among the worst in the state’s history (Picture: Getty)
North Fork, near the Kentucky River in Jackson, was among the towns to be totally swamped (Picture: AFP)
An abandoned pick-up truck is seen submerged under flood waters near North Fork (Picture: AFP)

‘And I do believe it will end up being one of the most significant, deadly floods that we have had in Kentucky in at least a very long time.’

He continued: ‘There are a lot of people in eastern Kentucky on top of roofs waiting to be rescued.

‘There are a number of people that are unaccounted for and I’m nearly certain this is a situation where we are going to lose some of them.’

Continued rainfall and dangerous conditions have hampered search and rescue operations, the state said.

The governor urged Kentuckians to offer help and make donations where possible, adding: ‘We’ve got a lot of people that need help that we can’t get to at the moment. We will.’

Many families have been rescued but there are fears others are out of reach (Picture: AFP)
At least eight people have died so far but officials have warned that figure is likely to rise (Picture: AFP)
The rain is set to continue in parts of Kentucky and in neighbouring states over the next 24 hours (Picture: AFP)
It took a matter of hours for towns to be totally transformed by torrential rain (Picture: AFP)

Forecasters have warned similar scenes could be repeated in neighbouring Virginia, West Virginia and some parts of Kentucky as rainstorms are set to continue.

According to online data, at least 30,000 people are still without power.

Jerry Stacy, a rescue worker on the ground, described the flood as a ‘catastrophic event’.

He said: ‘We’re just in the rescue mode right now. Extreme flash flooding and mudslides are just everywhere.’

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