Gov. Beshear announces cooling centers to battle heat in flooded counties; death toll reaches 37

Beshear Cnn
Kentucky governor on catastrophic flooding: "We've never seen something like this." (Source: CNN via CNN Newsource)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Beshear announced eight cooling centers are opening in eastern Kentucky following historic floods.

In the next few days, there is an isolated threat of rain, but extreme heat poses a danger for those without power, particularly seniors and other vulnerable people, according to a release by Beshear’s office. The heat index is expected to peak at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more in some locations.

“Don’t be too proud to go to one of these places. It’s going to be really hot and really dangerous,” said the governor. “So if you have a family member who’s older or maybe who has some conditions, you want to make sure you get them to a place where they’re going to be cool enough.”

The cooling stations include the following:

  • Breathitt County – Breathitt Library – 1024 College Ave., Lost Creek
  • Floyd County – Floyd Community Center – 7199 KY-80, Langley
  • Johnson County – City of Paintsville Recreation Center – 232 Preston St., Paintsville
  • Knott County – Knott County Sportsplex – 450 Kenny Champion Loop, Leburn
  • Letcher County – Letcher County Central High School – 435 Cougar Drive, Whitesburg
  • Perry County – Perry County Community Center – 354 Perry Park, Hazard
  • Pike County – Valley Elementary School – 162 Douglas Pkwy., Pikeville
  • Wolfe County – Senior Center – 76 Marion St., Campton

There have been 37 confirmed fatalities in five counties: eight in Breathitt; two in Clay; 17 in Knott (13 adults and four children; children are from the same family); three in Letcher; and seven in Perry). In addition, a total of 191 people are temporarily housed at Kentucky State Parks.

The release stated Beshear sent a request to FEMA yesterday asking to approve additional counties for individual assistance, which has been approved by the president for Pike and Floyd counties. So far, the counties approved are Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Pike.

Currently, homeowners and renters in the approved counties who were affected by the July 26 severe storms, flooding and mudslides may apply for individual disaster assistance by applying online at or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362).

The release further stated that those applying for assistance should keep this information in hand:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted;
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying;
  • Your Social Security number;
  • A general list of damage and losses;
  • Banking information if you choose direct deposit; and
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name.

The governor also announced the opening of Federal Emergency Management Agency Mobile Registration Centers where eligible Kentuckians can sign up for individual assistance. There is one location in each of the following counties:

  • Breathitt County – 421 Jett Drive, Jackson, KY 41339
  • Clay County – Clay Community Center – 311 Highway 638, Manchester, KY 40962
  • Knott County – Knott County Sportsplex – 450 Kenny Champion Loop #8765, Leburn, KY 41831
  • Letcher County – Letcher County Recreation Center – 1505 Jenkins Rd., Whitesburg, KY, 41858
  • Perry County – Hazard Community and Technical College – 1 Community College Drive, Hazard, KY 41701

Hours for all the centers are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

FEMA representatives will be at the centers to assist with federal assistance applications and provide information about resources.

In addition, the governor visited the following counties on Tuesday, Aug. 2:

  • Pike County – Emergency Operations Center and Emergency Shelter at Shelby Valley Elementary School
  • Floyd County – Floyd County EOC and Emergency Shelter at the Floyd County Community Center
  • Breathitt County – Breathitt County Courthouse

Additionally, there are 11 emergency shelters active, assisting 429 people. Please visit Beshear’s flood resources page for a full list of locations and addresses.

According to the release, residents of Breathitt, Clay, Knott, Letcher and Perry counties are eligible to request a refund of Kentucky sales and use tax paid on building materials permanently installed in the repair or replacement of structures damaged by flooding.

The release further stated these sales tax refunds are good for purchases made on or after the date of the disaster declaration for individual relief up to $6,000 in tax per building. Applicants of the five above counties have three years from the date of the federal disaster declaration to submit a refund claim to the Kentucky Department of Revenue after the repairs or replacement construction are completed.

If you live the five above counties and purchase building materials for the repair or replacement of structures damaged by the floods, visit the Kentucky Department of Revenue’s website at to learn more about how to apply for a sales tax refund.

For more personalized assistance, call 502-564-5170 and select Option 1 to speak to a member of the Revenue staff.

The Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance is working to establish a Disaster Unemployment Assistance program, according to the release. OUI is working with its federal partners to provide Disaster Unemployment Assistance as quickly as possible to eligible people in the five counties cleared to receive individual assistance.

If you have been impacted by the recent flash floods, please call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767). To donate, visit