Flash flooding, agency reminds, is weather's deadliest disaster

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Darlene Morgan had feared something bad was going to happen.

The Bald Knob resident said the area has been hit by flash floods before, contending that many dry creek beds in the area make northern Franklin County more vulnerable to flooding.

She said she was afraid someone would be killed if something wasn't done to prevent flooding. It was devastating, she said, when she learned that two Stony Creek residents had died in last Friday's floods.

Six inches of rain within 90 minutes caused flash flooding in the Bald Knob area and killed Eugenie Ann McClease, 39, and her 6-year-old son, Jeffery Allen McClease Jr., of 1395 Harvieland Road, when their house was swept away into Stony Creek, a tributary of the Kentucky River. Two bridges were washed out and four miles of road were closed by the rapidly moving waters.

"I knew it was going to happen," said Morgan. "I hit it so close on the head, it's breaking my heart."

Flash floods are more dangerous than some might think. In fact, the majority of deaths caused by natural disasters are a result of flash flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

On average, flash floods claim the lives of 127 people each year, compared to lightning which kill an average 75 people yearly, said Ted Funk, of the National Weather Service. Tornadoes kill 70 and hurricanes claim the lives of about 17 people a year.

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