PRESTONSBURG — A severe thunderstorm carrying the intensity of a five-minute summer squall, but which hovered over the city of Prestonsburg for over an hour, turned hollows into rivers and streets into canals Friday night, leaving residents shouldering a burden in property damages.
The storm, which dumped 4 inches of rain in an hour, overwhelmed drainage systems and left much of the city covered in water, mud and debris.
In the aftermath, local residents affected by flooding have been cleaning up, while local officials work to provide at least temporary fixes to the most serious damage and tally damage estimates in hopes of state and federal assistance.
One of those was Prestonsburg Mayor Jerry Fannin. Friday night, he told television news crews that damages in the city could reach $1 million. By Tuesday, however, he said the damage had already surpassed that figure.
“And we’re not even half done yet,” Fannin added.
Fannin signed an order declaring an emergency in the city Saturday morning. Judge-Executive R.D. “Doc” Marshall could not be reached for comment, but staff in his office said he signed on to that order Monday, but had not yet issued a similar order for the county, because damages are still being assessed.
Prestonsburg was Ground Zero for storm damage, with some areas outside the city also being hit.
The State Emergency Operations Center was activated to Level Four, at 8 a.m., Saturday, to support the impacted areas in Prestonsburg and Floyd County, as well as Paintsville and Johnson County. At Level Four, additional KYEM staff is put in place to maintain increased situational awareness, expedite and track requests for assistance and coordinate field activities
“We have activated the State EOC and dispatched two Recovery Branch Incident Management Teams in order to assist the elected officials and the local emergency managers in damage assessments,” State Emergency Management Director Michael E. Dossett said. “Our immediate mission is to ensure there are no unmet needs in the impact area and to expedite the recovery process.”
Residents and businesses that have incurred storm damage should document the damage with photos, contact their insurance provider and notify their local emergency management and report the damage. They may also go to the KYEM Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/KYEmergencyManagement , where they can upload and share storm related photos and videos.