May 03, 2011

This is a correction and update on the story that was posted here previously.

The people of Livingston County Kentucky have experienced catastrophic flooding over the last week through a combination of unusually large amounts of rain in the area and the fact that the Southern end of the county is surrounded on all sides by rivers. The Cumberland, Tennessee and Ohio Rivers make this section of Livingston County the only inland island in the United States. Both the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers flow through the dams at the Land Between the Lakes. Waters coming in from these rivers have filled Barkley and Kentucky Lakes to capacity and in order to prevent damage to the dams the water must be allowed to pass. This combination of rain, swollen rivers and overflowing dams has placed Livingston County in great peril. The photos attached to this story, along with the video, give a very accurate picture of the kind of damage that the county has received. 

All of the lowland and river areas of Livingston County have been evacuated. Smithland is presently occupied only by EMS personnel and FEMA. Anyone remaining in their homes in the flood affected areas is being rescued by boat. Earlier this week it was reported that the levee at Smithland had been breached and this possibility is still a major concern; however, the levee is intact. A leak through a sewage pipe under the wall had led authorities to believe that the wall itself had been damaged.  Even so, many areas of the county are completely under water. Ledbetter, Bayou, Birdsville, and Carrsville are all places where boats can be driven down streets and past homes. One of the most poignant photographs shows rows of mailboxes jutting up from the flood.

The waters on May 4th are at 55.8 feet according to the National Weather Service. Anyone may click the following link to see a map of the flood affected areas and keep track of waters in the area http://water.weather.gov/ahps/. Waters are expected to remain at this level which is almost 17 feet above flood stage for several days and are not expected to recede soon.  This fact coupled with the temperature this time of year will only contribute to the damage done to homes from mold and mildew.  

When the waters recede, we are going to need help in the Madisonville District to clean homes that are able to be cleaned and help people put their lives into perspective so that they may begin to heal and move forward.

Please be in prayer for those affected by the floods and those relief workers helping to alleviate the suffering.

The Kentucky Conference is collecting items for flood buckets to help those affected by the spring storms. Click here for more information.

Here is a video submitted by Rev. Jack Larwa, pastor of Eddyville UMC, located in the Madisonville district.