FLEMING-NEON — When the narrow creek that runs through this small Letcher County town overflowed, Allen Baker ran to get some silicone to seal the front door of his wife's medical office to ward off the muddy water.
It had worked before, but not Wednesday. The water came up too quickly, Dr. Brenda Baker said.
"We didn't think it was going to get that bad," she said.
Employees finally stopped the water coming in the front of the office by piling clothes across a hallway, but water came in through the back wall as well, Baker said.
On Thursday, the Bakers and employees, as well as other business people and home owners, cleaned up from a flash flood that was several feet deep in some spots in Fleming-Neon a day earlier.
The storms that moved through Wednesday afternoon, and again Thursday, brought the latest examples of rough weather and flooding that has hit Eastern Kentucky several times this year.
On Thursday, there were reports of trees down in Harlan, Leslie, Estill and Owsley counties; power outages in Perry and Leslie counties; some structural damage in Estill County and a flash flood at Wallins Creek in Harlan County, according to the National Weather Service and local officials.
Crews from the NWS were investigating reports Thursday of hail the size of golf balls and flash flooding in nearby Whitley County.
Some Eastern Kentucky residents said they've seen flooding this spring in places where the water hadn't been that high in years, if ever.
Peter Geogerian, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said rainfall in Eastern Kentucky this year has been well above average.
Still, the recent weather is "in the pattern of normalcy," he said.
So is the pattern of cleaning up.
Chuck Fernandez was mopping the tile floor at his Auto Express service station in Fleming-Neon Thursday afternoon.
"It came through here very fast," he said of Wednesday afternoon's flood. "It was unreal."
Letcher County Judge-Executive Jim Ward said the county got 4 inches of rain in four hours Wednesday — a lot of water for narrow creeks to carry away.
Debris that got caught behind bridges was a factor in the flooding, creating mini-dams that caused water to back up and overflow creeks, county officials said.
The 3 feet of water that flooded Fernandez's garage damaged a tire changer and other equipment and supplies, and it left behind 8 inches of mud, he said.
Echoing the frustration that many residents of the region have felt this spring, Fernandez said, "You work to try to have something, and in a matter of just an hour, it's gone."