HAZARD—After a week full of torrential thunderstorms and flash floods, community members around Perry County have been dealing with some rather soggy situations.
Mike Lasslo, Kentucky Power manager of customer and distribution services for the Hazard area, said the storms last week affected nearly 1,000 customers in a five-county area, which includes Perry, Breathitt, Knott, Leslie, and Letcher.
One community in Grapevine in Perry County lost power for part of the day on Thursday after Wednesday night’s storms. Lasslo said this was due to power lines being replaced and fixed from storm damage, adding that power was restored at around 5 p.m. that same day.
The hardest hit communities in the county besides Grapevine included Brownsfork and Big Creek, however, some damage was seen in areas where no flooding was even expected.
The Perry County Public Library in Hazard was forced to close on Thursday to give crews time to clean up its flooding issues.
Library Director Elaine Couch said the hard rains from Wednesday night had caused some drainage issues around the building.
“I was here at 7 p.m. when we closed, and when we started to leave the water, it was pouring the rain really hard,” Couch said on Thursday. “I did not expect any damage or anything like that.”
This is the first time the 5-year-old building has experienced any flooding issues, Couch said.
“We’ve never had anything due to flash floods or anything like that,” Couch said. “I think what’s happened is the rain has just come down so hard that the drains couldn’t take it in as quick as what it was coming, so it kept getting high enough that it seeped in through the floor level.”
Couch said the library was lucky to only receive minor damage, especially compared to the damage others in the community had received due to the hard rainfall.
“No damage was done to any books so far, we’ve not discovered any of that … The carpet is wet—soaked—and so we’re getting that water out of the carpet,” Couch said, adding that there was standing water in one of the facility’s activity rooms.
Couch said after calling the library’s insurance company, she was instructed to close the library until further notice in order to give crews time and space to clean the water up and let the floors dry completely.
“It may be tomorrow we’ll open, or it could be the next day,” she said Thursday morning. “It’s based on how long it takes that carpet to dry with the humidity in the building. They have to get it at a certain level.”
While the library is closed, Couch explained that library officials may be investigating ways to combat any future flooding issues. She added that patrons who have books checked out that are due while the facility is closed will not incur any late fees because they can’t return their media.
“We’re closed and we’ll open as soon as possible, and we hope that everyone will have a little patience with us,” she said. “If they want to drop off their items, they can still use the drop box, but we prefer that they just hang onto them.”
Couch said the library will be posing on social media and on its website, PerryCountyLibrary.org, when it is officially reopened.
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.