Floodwaters began receding in parts of Tennessee and Kentucky, but the mighty Ohio and other rivers rose Friday after a week of unrelenting rain flooded homes and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
A central Kentucky town became an island when swirling, muddy water encapsulated it Thursday. The only way out was by boat or helicopter. A child was missing and three people were killed after their car was swept away in a rain-swollen creek near Mineral Wells, Texas.Tennessee Gov. Ned McWherter asked the U.S. Small Business Administration on Thursday to designate eight middle Tennessee counties as flood disaster areas. Kentucky officials said they would seek similar federal relief.
"We hope the worst of it is over," Kentucky Gov. Wallace Wilkinson said after touring some of the hardest-hit areas of his state.
Although the rain let up Thursday, Cecil Whaley, an operations officer for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, said Friday that forecasters were watching a storm in Texas expected to move into the state.
A week's worth of rainfall, measuring more than 10 inches in some places, flooded roads, forced schools to close and claimed at least three lives.
Kentucky officials estimated that at least 1,000 people were forced from their homes by rising waters in most of the river systems in the western two-thirds of the state.
The Kentucky River crested Friday at 44.2 feet - more than 13 feet above flood stage - at Frankfort in central Kentucky, and several other rivers and streams also began receding, the National Weather Service said. However, the Ohio and Green rivers were still rising slightly and could force some river levels higher again, said forecaster Mike Callahan in Louisville.