Twenty-five children were rescued from a school bus trapped in raging floodwaters as flooding returned to rain-soaked sections of Kentucky and Tennessee just recovering from last week's downpours.
The Ohio River surged out of its banks from Louisville, Ky., to Cairo, Ill., early Tuesday, and smaller rivers were on the rise from Kentucky to Louisiana, the National Weather Service said.The weather service put out a flash flood watch for all of Tennessee, most of Kentucky and West Virginia and parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia and Ohio.
Flooding closed roads and damaged homes in Florence, Ala., early Tuesday, and roads were reported under water in central Tennessee after more than 21/2 inches of rain fell Monday evening.
For people in Tennessee and Kentucky especially, the rainfall was ill-timed, coming on the heels of serious flooding last week.
In central Kentucky, searchers Monday discovered the body of one of two men missing since their van got stuck in high water in Hardin County Thursday. The search for the other man continued Tuesday. About 50 miles west, in Stanley, Ky., a school bus tilted on its side in flood waters up to its midsection. The children and driver were inside the bus for at least 30 minutes before they were rescued and loaded into two small boats, according to firefighter Rick Fulkerson of the Stanley Volunteer Fire Department.
No children were injured. Richard Coy, a Daviess County deputy who discovered the bus, said there were some tense moments before the boats arrived because the bus was slowly sinking in the ditch.
"The boat ride was fun, but getting stuck wasn't fun," said fifth-grader Marshall Coleman. "It was kind of scary. A whole bunch of people were crying."
Of Kentucky's major rivers, those in the western half of the state posed the greatest problems with the new rainfall because of backwater flooding from the Ohio River, the weather service said.
The Licking and Kentucky rivers, which empty into the Ohio east of Louisville, were not considered a threat. But in western Kentucky, water remained up on the Green River and the Salt River, both of which empty into the Ohio.
At West Point, Ky., which lies just south of the Ohio, Mayor Gene Smith said water had receded a few inches Monday, but 42 houses that had to be evacuated the day before remained flooded.
The flood knocked out pumps at a waste treatment plant, causing raw sewage to be discharged into the river, Smith said. But he said the worst appeared to be over.
"Based on our old-timers, and based on the forecast, we're not anticipating any additional flooding," he said.