This is a continuation of an article published by the Louisville Water Company’s newsletter, NewsLeaks, on August 22, 2022:
Five Days of Rain
Eastern Kentucky is a land of hills and hollers (narrow valleys cut by streams). From July 25 to July 30, a train of thunderstorms developed south of I-64 and brought heavy rain, flash flooding, and river flooding across the region. Rainfall rates reached more than four inches an hour. According to radar-based estimates from the National Weather Service, up to 16 inches of rain fell in a narrow swath.
Water that came down into the hollers destroyed power and water infrastructure as well as roads, bridges, and entire homes. At least 39 people died. A mother who survived in a trailer said she tied herself to her children. She told CNN she was thinking “I will either save us or, worse come to worse, we’ll be found together.”
Greg Heitzman, former Louisville Water CEO and now president of the consulting firm BlueWater Kentucky, has also been working in the flood-ravaged areas, and he knew another Louisville Water employee he could call who would be ready, willing, and able to help set up emergency water services.
Meyer answered the call and headed to Eastern Kentucky on August 5. He helped WaterStep ramp up a WOW Cart at the Homeplace Community Center in Hazard and at Buckhorn Children & Family Services. Both Hazard and Buckhorn are in Perry County. Meyer spent five days in the region and also set up emergency water equipment in the town of Mayking in Letcher County.
Each WOW Cart can provide up to 10,000 gallons of emergency water each day. Meyer helped set up a temporary infrastructure that is providing not only drinking water for residents who have lost everything, but also water for washing machines, toilets, and showers.
“Whatever they need,” Meyer said.
Read part one of this story here.