Watch: Kentucky Residents Wake Up to Historically Devastating Flooding, Trapping Some in Their Homes

Flash floods in southeastern Kentucky killed three people and destroyed homes and roads Thursday, leaving many stranded and on their rooftops, seeking help.

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andrew “Andy” Beshear declared a state of emergency Thursday as a result of the flash floods, describing them as the “worst, most devastating flooding events in Kentucky’s history,” according to a news release from his office.

“What we are going to see coming out of this is massive property damage and we expect loss of life. Hundreds will lose their homes. And this will be yet another event that will take not months, but years, for our families to rebuild and recover from.”

“I’m asking everyone to pray. There are a lot of people out there who need help and are very scared right now. And we’re doing the very best we can to reach each and every one of them,” the governor said, according to the news release.

The National Weather Service on Thursday issued a flash flood warning for parts of southeastern Kentucky, including the Breathitt, Lee, Magoffin and Owsley counties.

Due to the floods, the Kentucky River’s North Fork experienced an increase in water levels by 12 feet in 12 hours, reaching a high of 16.8 feet early Thursday morning, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

The flooding was caused by “excessive rainfall” the night before, and in the early morning, the NWS said. The flood warning remains in place until 6:15 p.m., the agency said, advising residents to turn around when near flooded roads.

“I also want to tell the people of Eastern Kentucky that we are going to be there for them. You are important and we want to help. This is what we do as Kentuckians – we help each other out,” Beshear said.

“I expect double-digit deaths,” Beshear said, according to the New York Times. “That’s something that we rarely see.”

The deceased, according to the governor, included an 81-year-old woman in Perry County, the Times reported.

Maj. Gen. Hal Lamberton and Beshear said that the National Guard was mobilized to help locals in need, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Rescue crews in Black Hawk helicopters were helping with rescuing people stuck on rooftops, Lamberton said at a news briefing, according to the Washington Post.

Beshear said authorities had opened the Pine Mountain, Buckhorn Lake and Jennie Wiley state parks for citizens who lost their homes.

National Weather Service of Jackson meteorologist Dustin Jordan said that Cark Creek in Knott County witnessed 6.82 inches of rain in the last two days, 6.23 of which came in the last 24 hours, the Courier-Journal reported.

In Perry County, rainfall went up to 7 inches in the past two days, while Prestonburg in Floyd County got 1.67 inches of rainfall, Jordan said.

“This isn’t just a disaster; it’s an ongoing natural disaster,” Beshear said, according to the Washington Post.

“We are in the midst of it, and for some places it will continue through tonight,” he continued.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.