Flooded in Frankfort

Members of the Frankfort Fire Department waiting to hear whether they need to rescue boaters rumored to be stuck in a logjam on the flooded Kentucky River. More than half of Kentucky's 120 counties have declared emergencies following weekend floods that have claimed the lives of at least five people.

Frankfort, KY – I didn’t realize Frankfort had flooded until I made a left onto a street and saw water nearly cresting the street signs. The yellow caution tape had snapped, but the currents of the flooded Kentucky River, more than 12 feet above flood stage, continued to pour rapidly into the Ohio. I thought the floods were further west. Naturally, I got out and began taking pictures.

Moments later I ran into a woman, Vicki Hayes, a psychologist, who was concerned about some boaters rumored to be trapped in a logjam somewhere on the river. Frankfort Fire Department was on call with a rescue boat, waiting to hear whether they would have to brave the raging the river. “People don’t realize how dangerous this river is,” Vicki said. “We haven’t seen a flood this bad since 1997. I don’t want people washing up in my backyard.”

The rescue call never came, so Vicki and I walked to her home several blocks away. The river, though it has begun receding, still nearly touched her front steps.

Yesterday, she said, several families were hanging around her street. “Little kids were playing right here,” she said. “You can’t see it now, but at the end of my yard there’s a straight drop.”

The river had swallowed her backyard completely.

Her porch was chock full of items she rescued from her basement. Inside, she showed me the view from her bedroom window. “I don’t like waking up in the morning and seeing water almost to my window,” she said.

In her basement, water was coming up the stairs. All of her electricity has been shut off since the weekend. She explained live wires are just one of many hazards associated with the water. Others include snakes, debris and bacterias. She was unhappy about having to pour her ice-cream down the drain.

It’s going to be a long clean-up, she said. Pumping water from the basement, cleaning the mud from her yard, re-planting grass and her flowers, which she seemed more upset about than the ice cream.

The end of the street I turned onto while tooling around Frankfort. The yellow caution tape had snapped, clearing the way for a straight shot into the river. Four days ago, this was a parking lot.

1 Comment

  1. Vicki Hayes, Psy.D. says:

    Nathan,Pictures are great and have turned out to be very helpful to me for National Flood Insurance purposes.  Do you still have any photos of my basement that you took?  I have lots of damage in basement (i.e.  hot water heater and probably furnace neeed replacing).  They need to know how high it came up in there.  There are still water and mud marks, but I thought your photos would be even better.P.S. It was a pleasure to meet you, and when I get the chance I want to follow up on your other stories on your website.  Website looks great!

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