On Friday morning, the death toll in Eastern Kentucky rose to 16, including two children, after torrential rains flooded the region, destroying hundreds of homes and eradicating entire communities across several counties. Keep an eye on

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear predicted that the death toll would “probably more than double.”

“We could have lost entire families,” Beshear said in a video released early Friday.

The National Guard assisted search and rescue teams in their search for missing people Friday after record floods swept through the region. The governor declared an emergency.

“To all the families who have already suffered a loss, we will grieve with you,” Beshear said at a news conference Friday morning. ” We will stand by you and be there for you not just today, but tomorrow, and in the weeks and years to come.”

After more than 6 inches of rain fell Wednesday night and Thursday, more rain and storms were expected this weekend. The National Weather Service’s Brandon Bonds in Jackson says it won’t take much more rain to “cause even more damage.” Many of the areas that experienced the most flooding were expected to remain under a flood watch or warning.

President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Kentucky on Friday and directed federal aid to assist the state’s recovery efforts in flood-affected areas. According to a White House statement, federal funds will be made available to state, local governments, and nonprofits for emergency protective measures in 13 counties.

The disaster declaration, according to Deanna Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will help cover the overtime costs and recovery efforts that Kentucky communities are currently facing.

“FEMA has deployed additional search and rescue teams to supplement the incredible efforts already underway on the ground.” “According to Criswell. “If additional resources are required for these life-saving missions, we will continue to bring them in.”

Beshear confirmed the deaths of 16 people during a news conference on Friday morning, including at least two children and an 81-year-old woman. According to officials, the victims were from Clay, Knott, Letcher, and Perry counties.

Beshear stated on Friday morning that the state currently does not have a “reliable number” of people missing due to communication difficulties and a lack of cell service.

“It’s going to be really difficult to get a good number in this area,” Beshear said.

According to Beshear, at least 337 people have sought refuge. Nearly 300 people were rescued by air and boat.

“In a word, this event is devastating,” Beshear said Thursday. “I believe it will end up being one of the most significant deadly floods that we have had in Kentucky in at least a very long time.”

While rain was reported throughout the state, the flooding occurred in Eastern Kentucky, in counties near the Virginia and West Virginia borders. According to Beshear, more than 23,000 Kentuckians were without power as of Friday morning, and several counties were without water.

Hazard, Jackson, Garrett, Salyersville, Booneville, Whitesburg, and the rest of Perry County have been reported as the hardest hit towns and cities.

According to the National Weather Service in Jackson, the Kentucky River in Jackson reached its highest level ever at 43.2 feet as of 6 a.m. Friday. That height broke the river’s previous record of 43.1 feet set in 1939.