BRADENTON, Fla. — The governors of Kentucky and Tennessee have declared states of emergency to deal with disastrous floods and tornadoes that hit the states over the past weekend.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday that the flooding from historically heavy rains has caused five deaths. Dozens of people were rescued over the weekend and into the first part of the week as water levels in the major rivers continued to rise.
Beshear placed 70 counties and 22 cities under a state of emergency, with more expected to be added.
“As we await the request for federal assistance, local and state officials are in the process of gathering damage assessments,” Beshear said. “Others are still involved in emergency response missions as we continue to provide assistance to those who have been affected by the aftermath of these terrible storms.”
Numerous river basins were of concern as state agencies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continued to monitor water levels behind dams and levees across the commonwealth.
The Kentucky National Guard also has mobilized to assist with recovery efforts. At the appropriate time, guard units will also assist with debris removal and public roadway clearing, Beshear said.
In Tennessee, Gov. Phil Bredesen asked President Obama to declare 52 counties as federal disaster areas.
Bredesen said Tennessee suffered 14 confirmed fatalities. Many residents lost all of their possessions as their homes were destroyed or sustained major damages.
Early in the week, dozens of shelters remained open statewide.
“As we turn toward recovery, my thoughts and prayers continue to be with all of those who lost loved ones or have been affected by this disaster,” Bredesen said. “We face many obstacles and challenges in the days to come, but I am reassured to see that we are united in our efforts to help those in need.”
The state has requested assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help conduct preliminary damage assessments as soon as waters recede enough.
Officials hope those assessment can begin on Monday.
“The state’s current budget circumstance is severe and unprecedented,” Bredesen said. “I am requesting 100% federal assistance for the first 72 hours. Any aid received will assist with work and services to save lives and protect property.”