State

In Mason County, she woke up, stepped into floodwater, then the house started sliding

Tim and Sheila Wheeler of Maysville survived a harrowing ride in their house on KY 11 early Sunday morning as a flash flood moved it about 200 yards with them in it.
Tim and Sheila Wheeler of Maysville survived a harrowing ride in their house on KY 11 early Sunday morning as a flash flood moved it about 200 yards with them in it. jbrammer@herald-leader.com

When Sheila Wheeler got out of bed about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, her first steps were into rushing water. She awakened her husband, Tim, and then they heard a loud noise as their house started moving down the hill.

The Wheelers and their dog stayed in the house as it was carried about 200 yards. They emerged safely in the pitch darkness and walked to check on a neighbor’s house, which also sat along Ky. 11 east of Maysville. The Wheelers and neighbors spent all day Sunday trying to salvage items from their destroyed homes.

“We have no flood insurance, but thank God we are OK,” Sheila Wheeler said. They were planning to stay in a motel Sunday night.

Down the road, Boyd Sexton and his son Taylor Sexton lost about $450,000 in inventory at their auto sales and towing service. “We spent most of the day dragging cars out of the creek behind our property,” said the father. Boyd Sexton said about 60 cars were damaged and were tossed like sticks by the heavy waters.

Mason County is under a state of emergency after eight inches of rain in three hours overnight Saturday. The flooding put Maysville’s streets under six inches of water.

“It’s devastation,” said Maysville Mayor David Cartmell. “It’s an epic flood for us, we’ve never had anything like this.”

Power was still out in parts of the county on Sunday afternoon, Cartmell said, although no major injuries or deaths have been reported. The force of the water in Maysville’s several creeks took out bridges and sent numerous cars floating into creeks and onto roads.

“They piled up like sticks, they were tossed around like Lincoln logs,” Cartmell said.

Cartmell said Judge Executive Joe Pfeffer would contact Gov. Matt Bevin’s office on Monday morning. He estimated millions of dollars in damage.

Weather reports warned of continued flash flooding in northeast Kentucky. The Fleming County Sheriff’s Office reported several flooded businesses in downtown Flemingsburg, along with downed trees around the county, and media reports said Rowan County had also seen some flooding damage.

Linda Blackford: 859-231-1359, @lbblackford

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