By CLAIRE GALOFARO and BRUCE SCHREINER
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky was swamped by wave after wave of heavy rain, unleashing flash flooding that killed a woman, stranded a school bus and forced more than 160 rescues in Louisville.
The rains started Thursday and continued into Friday.
Authorities in Lee County found the body of a woman whose car was swept away by rushing water on Friday, Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy said. The coroner identified the victim as 63-year-old Lois McGovern, WLEX-TV reported Saturday.
McGovern had been stranded in her vehicle in high water on an eastern Kentucky highway. Rescue workers lost sight of her about two hours later, Purdy said. Police originally said that a child had been in the car with McGovern, but investigators now believe she was alone.
As rain pushed through parts of the South and Midwest, severe thunderstorms were also blamed for the death of a woman who was camping with her family at Natural Bridge State Resort Park in eastern Kentucky.
Meanwhile, thousands of people in Kansas lost power when winds reached nearly 90 mph, downing trees and damaging buildings.
In Louisville, Simone Wester awoke Friday to the sight of boats carting away her neighbors.
“It looked like a hurricane struck,” said Wester, whose apartment complex was surrounded by floodwaters, waist-deep in some places. “I didn’t know what to do.”
Wester, 20, and her 7-month-old son, Jeremiah, were rescued by a man who waded through the floodwaters toward her.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said more than 160 water rescues had been made.
In Powell County, Kentucky, Catherine Carlson, 45, was killed and her husband was injured when a large tree limb fell on their tent, said coroner Hondo Hearne. Their three children didn’t appear to be injured, he said.
The campground where the family was staying was evacuated due to flash flooding, said Gil Lawson, a spokesman for the state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
A northern Kentucky school bus with 16 students aboard was stranded for about three hours by floodwaters. The Grant County students and bus driver eventually climbed up an embankment next to the bus and walked about a half mile to higher ground, where they were picked up, said Nancy Howe, a school district spokeswoman.
In Kansas, six people were injured in a severe thunderstorm, emergency management officials said. Several buildings were damaged in Newton and the Jabara Airport in Wichita was closed Friday morning because of storm debris on the airfield.
In Kentucky, more than 6 inches of rain fell in Louisville, and Lexington received more than 5 inches.
Associated Press writer Rebecca Yonker contributed to this report.
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