Breaking News
More () »

'It's so miserable'; Humid weather adds to misery after Appalachian flooding

"The humidity is so high, it takes your breath,” Kirsten Gomez said. “Your clothes stick to you. Your hair sticks to you. This mud is caked on you."

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Temperatures were expected to soar on Wednesday in a region of eastern Kentucky where people are shoveling out from the wreckage of massive flooding, many in places without electricity.

The rising heat and humidity meant heat index values near 100 by midday, a steam bath that will continue through Thursday evening, the National Weather Service said.

This week's weather added to the hardships in Knott County, where Kirsten Gomez's husband and cousin were gutting their doublewide trailer of drywall, flooring and cabinets ruined by floodwaters from nearby Troublesome Creek.

“It is so miserable. The humidity is so high, it takes your breath,” Gomez said Tuesday. “Your clothes stick to you. Your hair sticks to you. This mud is caked on you. ... But I’m just blessed that we don’t have rain anymore.”

RELATED: Here's how to help Kentuckians impacted by 'catastrophic' flooding

Cooling centers were opened after forecasters warned of the risk of heat-related illnesses in an advisory issued for the flood-ravaged area.

The death toll stood at 37, and while more than 1,300 people have been rescued, crews were still trying to reach some people who remain cut off by floods or mudslides. 

Credit: Governor Andy Beshear

About 5,000 customers still lacked electricity in eastern Kentucky as of Wednesday morning, according to Poweroutages.com. Emergency shelters housed hundreds of residents who had homes destroyed or damaged.

The historic flooding also hit areas just across the state line in Virginia and West Virginia, where some people also remained without power.

President Joe Biden declared a federal disaster to direct relief money to counties flooded after 8 to 10 1/2 inches (20 to 27 centimeters) of rain fell in just 48 hours last week in the Appalachian mountain region.

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Before You Leave, Check This Out