A woman in Kentucky was killed in flash flooding during heavy rain overnight that left about 10 people trapped in their homes and sent cars floating down streets, an official said.
The woman, who was not identified, had lived in a trailer near a creek that overflowed, said Calvin Denton, the emergency management director for Carlisle, Ky., about 40 miles northwest of Lexington.
“The water had come up so quick that it washed the back end of her trailer away, and she was trapped in it,” Mr. Denton said. “We knew there was a possibility of rain, but nothing like this. I’ve lived here for 76 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Mr. Denton said that within about an hour, parts of the area were flooded by about six feet of water. Crews had rescued about 10 people trapped in their houses early Friday, and fast-rising water had entered 25 to 35 houses, he said.
“A lot of the stuff that’s damaged can be replaced,” he said. “But you lose a person, that can’t be replaced. It got everyone in shock.”
Most flash floods are the result of slow-moving thunderstorms, or back-to-back thunderstorms over the same area, according to the National Weather Service. Flooding usually happens within six hours of the storm, and the places that are most at risk include urban areas with pavement that can’t absorb water, low-lying areas, rivers and streams.
On average, 88 people die each year in the United States as a result of flash flooding, more than from tornadoes, hurricanes or lightning, according to the Weather Service.
The woman in Kentucky was at least the fifth death this month in the United States as a result of flash flooding. At least three people died after a flash flood in Colorado last week, and a female camper was killed after a flood in the Grand Canyon.
As the world warms, the United States and other parts of the world have seen an increase in the frequency of extreme rainstorms that lead to flash floods. And the frequency is likely to increase as warming continues.