Torrential rains Thursday night and Friday morning caused flooding in many parts of Kentucky, contributing to at least two deaths, closing schools and making roads impassable in multiple counties.
The high water receded in many places during the day, but police and emergency workers worried that more rain Friday night could cause additional hazards as rivers and creeks continue to rise.
From midnight Thursday through Friday evening, 5.17 inches of rain fell on Lexington, WKYT Chief Meteorologist Chris Bailey said. That made Friday the wettest April day on record; the previous record was 3.21 inches on April 30, 1909, Bailey said. Friday's was the fifth-highest one-day rainfall total on record for Lexington.
Between Thursday morning and Friday night, Lexington got 6.40 inches of rain.
The average amount of rainfall in Lexington for the entire month of April is 3.9 inches, Bailey said.
Meanwhile, Louisville slogged through its the fourth-wettest day on record Friday with 5.64 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service; Louisville's previous record for April 3 was 4.01 inches, set in 2008.
The storms created havoc in the state.
Catherine Carlson, 45, of Lexington, died early Friday when a large tree limb fell on the tent where she and her family were camping in Powell County. Her husband, Brian Carlson, was listed in critical condition at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, but their children were unhurt. It happened at a campground at Natural Bridge State Park, authorities said.
About 7 p.m. Friday in Lee County, rescuers found a car submerged in water with the body of a woman inside, according to the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife.
The vehicle was swept into Sinking Creek about 11:30 a.m. near Ky. 52 and Old Landing Road near the Estill County line, said state police Trooper Robert Purdy.
Purdy said local authorities saw a woman and child and tried to rescue them as the car was swept away. No child was found in the vehicle. A Lexington Fire Department team helped with the search.
Although the heavy rain was widespread, Louisville and Jefferson County appeared to have been hardest hit, with standing water closing numerous streets Friday and forcing emergency workers to make more than 160 water rescues, weather service and Louisville city officials said.
Jefferson County schools later cancelled school Friday. The high water caused headaches for other school districts.
In Grant County in Northern Kentucky, rescuers walked 16 students to safety after their bus became stuck in high water on the way to school Friday morning.
In Eastern Kentucky, Floyd County Public Schools officials called off classes Friday morning, fearing students might not be able to get back home because of county roads covered by water and mudslides.
Keeneland, which opened its spring meet Friday, canceled some afternoon races because of heavy rain and lightning.
Portions of several Lexington streets were closed by high water Friday morning, and police put up warning signs at various intersections and other areas with standing water. There were reports of manhole covers being pushed up by rising water.
Many of the problems on Friday were in surrounding counties as emergency responders helped stranded motorists and livestock.
The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management said several Kentucky counties reported storm-related problems Friday morning.
A woman and her daughter were stranded on a bridge by high water in Washington County, division spokesman Buddy Rogers said.
An animal rescue was required in Wolfe County, where several head of domestic livestock were reported stuck in a flooded creek. Some animals might have been swept away, Rogers said.
Runoff from the seemingly never-ending rains turned normally lazy streams, including Jessamine Creek, into churning, thundering cataracts.
Jessamine County emergency management director Johnny Adams said just after noon Friday that Jessamine Creek was higher than he'd seen it in years. One man had to be rescued when he tried to drive across the creek Friday morning, and two other people had to be helped out of the water later, Adams said.
"We've been pretty busy," he said. "The water already has receded some, but we've got more rain coming in later today. And we still have some county roads that are impassable."
In Madison County, the Richmond Fire Department went to Bill Eads Road north of Richmond to rescue two people whose mobile home was surrounded by high water, said Michael Bryant, deputy director of Madison County Emergency Management. Rescuers had to use a boat to get to the victims, Bryant said.
Kentucky State Police reported a partial road collapse on U.S. 25 in Madison County between Colonel Road and Clay Lane. That portion of U.S. 25 will remain closed until further notice.
In Jessamine County, a mother with children was evacuated from a mobile home in low-lying Tates Creek Estates, said John V. Carpenter, deputy director of Jessamine County Emergency Management. The family left the home at the request of a deputy sheriff who was concerned about rising water, Carpenter said.
Three vehicles stalled in high water on Jessamine Station Road east of Wilmore, but their occupants apparently were able to get out safely, he said.
Firefighters used a boat to rescue a stranded motorist on Bridge Hill Road in Anderson County shortly after 8 a.m., said Amy Womack with the county's emergency management office.
A second motorist also was stranded on Bonds Mill Road but managed to escape without help, officials said. At least 14 Anderson County roads were closed because of rising water, Womack said.
"We are asking everyone to use extreme caution," she said.
Three homes on Crab Orchard Road in Franklin County were surrounded by high water late Friday morning and probably were flooded, emergency management director Tommy Russell said. The residents had started moving out their belongings and did not have to be evacuated, Russell said.
Crab Orchard Road and two other roads in Franklin County were closed by high water. Russell said he expected six to seven more road closings by Friday evening as the Kentucky River continued to rise. It's expected to reach flood stage of 31 feet by 3 a.m. Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
Some flooding was expected later Friday on the main stem of the Kentucky River at Heidelberg in Lee County. Moderate flooding could occur at Ravenna in Estill County by Saturday, also on the Kentucky River's main stem, weather officials said.
The Red River was expected to rise above flood stage at Clay City by Friday afternoon, and it could cause moderate flooding there and in low-lying areas near the Mountain Parkway, said John Pelton, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.