THELEVISALAZER.COM – APRIL 4, 2015
EMS calls ‘Level 3’ in freak storm
BY WADE QUEEN
Good Friday 2015, the Friday that serves as the Christian holy day before Easter Sunday, was definitively not good this year.
Friday afternoon and evening, multiple waves or a “train of thunderstorms” flared-up from a west to east fashion south of I-64 placing numerous communities in a 10 county, 2 state region of Kentucky and West Virginia in line for high water.
Lawrence County was RIGHT in the bullseye, being hard hit with serious flooding and damage throughout the county; with neighboring Wayne County hit as well, with a tragic outcome for a woman whose apparent devotion to her local church led to her being killed.
Dispatchers in Wayne WV were concerned about the region adjoining Routes 37 and 152 in Central Wayne County near Billy’s and Flat Branch and Roe Hollow for flooding when they received the emergency call of a woman who got swept away in flood waters near Route 37 between Wayne and East Lynn along Newcomb Creek on Rowe Hollow Road.
Neighbors tell police the woman was on her way to Good Friday services at a nearby church when she was swept away.
West Virginia State Police stated they believe the woman drove in her car and came to a section of Rowe Hollow Road that completely flooded over, stopping her vehicle, apparently realizing she could not drive through, but was so determined to get to her church, that she instead, got out her car, tried to walk through the flooded road, and lost her standing due to current of the sweeping water, going under and taken away where she drowned and was found dead further downstream.
Lawrence County was one of the major hot spots of the regional flooding as 4 to 6 inches fell in just a few hours, with even higher amounts in isolated areas.
Kentucky Past 24 Hour Precipitation from 2 A.M EST Friday morning to 2 A.M. EST Saturday morning. Map does not include earlier amounts, but up to 8 inches of rain fell Friday in Lawrence County
The Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency proclaimed a Level 3 emergency for road conditions, just as they did for the snow storms of February and March.
High water was reported 6 miles out from Route 23 past Eagle Ridge on Route 32 and also along Route 201 in Webbville; and may other points elsewhere in the county.
With the ground already saturated from previous rains all Thursday night, Friday morning began with heavy rains that led to flash flood warning in neighboring counties west of Lawrence Co., with an unexpected break that unfortunately led to the firing up of massive thunderstorms from Louisville to Lexington that grew much stronger as they came eastward, which led to the setting up of a chorus line of heavy rain storms for Lawrence County and surrounding counties.
Local school officials, realizing what was unfolding, dismissed Lawrence Co. Schools Friday, sending students home early at 1:15 P.M.
And then for local officials in charge (and the local general population); the weather situations went steadily, and then steeply downhill from there.
Several severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings were sent out fro Lawrence County during the late afternoon and early evening
All fire departments and every fire and rescue and police in the county went into overdrive as they were inundated and swamped with a wide-range of calls and help for assistance.
According to Michael Woods, head of the Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency, issued a long list of incident reports from around the county that included the following:
* Old Lick Creek Road was blocked by high water
* Left Fork of Little Blaine blocked due to water
* A mudslide on Route 707 off of Route 23 that was blocking half the road.
* KY 2565 / KY 32 area near KFC mudslide blocking part of roadway.
* KY 32 near Jim Cyrus and the Old Holts Market both areas blocked by water.
* Yatesville Road covered by water.
* Issac Park Road blocked by water.
* KY 32 near the Lawrence County garage that roadway undercut by water.
* Austin Branch Road blocked by water.
* City of Louisa Fire Department responding to KY 32 near the new construction due to a subject stuck in vehicle in the water.
* KY 3 north of Louisa towards Fallsburg blocked in several areas.
* US 23 just north of KY 2565, between 2565 and Walmart near Springdale Estates near Louisa blocked by high water.
* Cains Creek blocked by high water.
* Right Fork of Georges Creek blocked by high water.
* Mattie Road partially blocked by water and roadway partially broke off near Mattie Church.
* KY 828 blocked and KY 1 at the intersection of KY 828 blocked by water.
* Blaine FD responding to Irish Cr. for individuals trapped in vehicle by high water.
* KY 2037 blocked by high water.
* Walton Drive from KY 2565 to Walmart blocked by water.
* Webbville FD responding to KY 201 about 1 mile from the fire department due to a vehicle trapped in water.
* Cherryville Fire – Rescue responding to Donathon Road on report of 3 occupants stuck in water.
* Highway 644 on see hill rocks and water in the road.
* Lawrence Co Search and Rescue responded to Irish Creek to assist Blaine FD with water rescue on Irish Creek.
* KY 1690 just south of KY 644 one lane blocked by water.
* Fallsburg FD checking flooding report in the area of 3D road around houses.
* Webbville Fire Department and Lawrence County Search and Rescue responding to multiple reports of vehicles stuck in water on KY 201 just south of KY 1.
* KY 2037 blocked by mudslide one mile from KY 1690.
* KY 1760 was blocked on the KY 32 side by water.
* Left Fork of Morgans Creek was blocked by high water.
* Big Cat Fork in Fallsburg flooded with very high water.
* Brushy Creek Road blocked by water in Blaine.
* KY 3 at the intersection of Spankem Cat Fork Road was totally blocked by water.
* Blaine Creek Road off US 23 where driveways washing out into road, water over flowing ditches in spots an a small slide about 2 miles up from 23 side.
* Pigeon Roost near Martha was blocked by high water.
* KY 2565 near Wilsons Funeral Home blocked by high water.
* KY 2565 near Wilsons Funeral Home blocked by high water.
* Louisa Fire Department responded to power lines down at the foot of Adams Hill at the intersection of KY 32 and KY 1760.
* Needmore Road blocked by a mudslide.
KY 645 was partially blocked by a mudslide just off US 23 and both eastbound lanes were blocked by water just past KY 1690.
KY 32 was blocked just west of KY 201 in the Gambill Curve.
By Saturday morning things have completely quieted down and are calm, but the area may only have respite for Easter Weekend, as weather forecasts next week are giving several days of rain and thunderstorms, raising the likelihood of more high water problems.
(SEE ADDITIONAL REPORT)