Heavy rains soak parts of Appalachia, northern Mississippi

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Storms with soaking rains drenched a wide swath of Appalachia and northern Mississippi this week, swamping farmland, flooding bridges, stranding people in their homes and damaging cars and residences.

Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia all got hit. Much of northwest Mississippi received as much as 3 to 6 inches (7 to 15 centimeters) of rain, with localized areas getting up to 15 inches (38 centimeters) or more, the National Weather Service in Memphis said Friday.

Flash flood advisories have been issued along the Tallahatchie, Coldwater and Yocona rivers in north Mississippi and were in effect for much of West Virginia on Friday, the weather service said.

Emergency officials told news outlets that 50 people were trapped in their homes Thursday in West Hamlin, West Virginia, after a culvert washed out. About 25 homes were damaged, authorities said.

Crews performed water rescues into Thursday night.

Two buildings in the West Hamlin area were destroyed by fire due to high water, and some bridges have been washed away, officials said.

West Hamlin town recorder JoAnna Cardwell told WSAZ-TV that the town’s water tower has been damaged. She said the tower was empty of drinking water, and the town needed a service pump to remove floodwater.

In Lee County, Kentucky, officials declared a state of emergency Friday after heavy rain fell in the area.

WKYT-TV reported some roads and bridges were closed in eastern Kentucky. Lee County also had several mud flows and some high water in the eastern and southern parts of the county, officials said.

“We’ve lost some bridges on some of our secondary county roads, quite a bit of debris on the roadways,” said John Allen, director of Lee County Emergency Management. “We did have one water rescue this morning, but fortunately, we were able to stand by and watch the water recede.”

In east Tennessee, weather officials issued a flash flood watch for Knoxville and surrounding areas.

In north Mississippi this week, heavy rainfall flooded homes, businesses and farmland, and washed out some roads, making travel dangerous. Residents were seeing some relief as floodwaters began to recede on Friday.

The National Weather Service said more than 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain fell in Tallahatchie County from Tuesday to Thursday. It also said Thursday that 7.8 inches (19.8 centimeters) of rain had fallen within 24 hours at Greenwood-Leflore County Airport.

The weather service also warned Thursday about the “high probability” that a dam in rural Carroll County could fail. Some residents of Oxford were asked to evacuate their homes after warnings about a possible levee breach.

In Bolivar County, Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Lamb told the Clarion Ledger that water went into 150 to 200 homes.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency released video of farmland that flooded in Tallahatchie County. Delta Council, which represents agriculture interests, said farmers were losing thousands of dollars worth of crops and chemicals because of flooding in soybean and rice fields.

Rising waters forced evacuations Wednesday in the Willow Creek subdivision in Saltillo, near Tupelo.

In Yalobusha County, rain swept away a section of a road east of Water Valley. A truck crashed into the hole and crews rescued the occupant, WTVA-TV reported.

Emergency officials in Lafayette County told residents to evacuate several homes Wednesday after heavy rain created concern about a dam on a small lake.