Mary Littleton, in her late 60s, had a physical mobility problem and apparently was unable to escape before her home was swept away by a wall of water roaring down Sinking Creek in the Grahn area, just outside Olive Hill.
Her mobile home was smashed against a bridge abutment. Tommy Thompson, director of the county’s emergency services, said neighbors reported her nephew attempted to save her but wound up losing his pickup in the floodwaters.
High water from that creek and other small tributaries to Tygarts Creek, like Henderson Creek, which runs parallel with Ky. 2, soon pushed the larger Tygarts Creek out of its banks and into the downtown Olive Hill business district. The rushing waters washed away several other mobile homes as well as a number of cars and trucks.
Officials believe as many as 75 homes were damaged by flooding in and around Olive Hill.
Merchants there had just began to recover from a May 2 flooding by Tygarts Creek.
Olive Hill Mayor Danny Sparks said the city’s firehouse, which just reopened two weeks ago after cleanup from the May 2 flooding, had four feet of water in it Wednesday morning.
The water had receded by later in the day. State and county government officials toured the damaged areas Thursday.
A number state highways in Carter, Lewis and Greenup County sustained damage when water from Tygarts, Kinniconick and numerous smaller streams covered them, said Allen Blair, information officer for the Kentucky Department of Highways District 9.
Blair said Ky. 59 at Trace Road in southern Lewis County remained closed on Thursday as a safety measure after the flood waters undermined the roadway four miles north of the Carter County line.
“Motorists — and pedestrians — should not attempt to cross barricades placed there,” Blair said.
In Greenup County, flooding along Tygarts Creek and the Little Sandy River closed Ky. 503 between mile markers 2 and 3. Also, Ky. 784 was closed near its intersection with Ky. 7 between mile markers 8 and 9 and again between mile markers 9 and 10.
“As storm response continues this week, Highway District 9 crews will assess damage and work to make sure any closed roadways are re-opened as safely and as quickly as possible for the traveling public,” Blair said.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.