Hopkinsville Swamped By Floodwaters; 10-Year-Old Drowns - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Hopkinsville Swamped By Floodwaters; 10-Year-Old Drowns

(LOUISVILLE) -- Remnants of Hurricane Katrina dumped more rain Tuesday on water-logged Hopkinsville, already swamped by an earlier storm that forced people to flee homes and businesses and caused the death of a child who was swept by rushing water into a storm sewer.

The one-two punch of storms dropped 8 to 11 inches of rain on the western Kentucky city in the past 36 hours, said National Weather Service hydrologist Marry Lamm in Paducah. About 2½ inches were due to Katrina, and the city could get another inch before the storm moved on.

Hopkinsville was drenched by six inches of rain over a few hours early Monday, which sent the North and South Forks of the Little River surging over their banks.

"It was an amazing amount of rain," Lamm said.

Deanna Petsch, 10, of Hopkinsville, drowned Monday after she fell into the rushing water while playing in a drainage ditch, said Randy Graham, chief of the Christian County rescue team.

High water closed roads and at least a dozen businesses along a main corridor connecting Hopkinsville with nearby Fort Campbell, emergency official Dee Hopper said Tuesday. Dozens of homes were either evacuated or residents rented tractor-trailers to store belongings.

Some people were removed from their homes by boat.

"We have a lot of water that's in places where we haven't had water before," Hopper said.

An emergency shelter was opened at a middle school in the western Kentucky city of 35,000. Volunteers filled about 50,000 sandbags Monday -- and had another 150,000 at their disposal -- to try to keep the rushing water at bay, she said.

Authorities put up barricades to keep people out of flooded streets, but that didn't keep some people from trying to get through. Some stalled out and needed assistance.

"We've had to rescue people off the tops of their cars," Hopper said.

Most of Kentucky was under a flood watch until Tuesday night as what was left of Katrina moved through the state.

At Barren River Lake in south-central Kentucky, the storm dumped 7 inches of rain, he said.

The rain was too late to help the state's corn crop but should help development of soybeans and rejuvenate pastures for cattle, said Chad Lee, a University of Kentucky assistant extension professor in plant and soil sciences.

In Hopkinsville, the storm that preceded Katrina was blamed for a section of roof to collapse early Monday at Christian County High School.

School was not in session at the time. Two classrooms were destroyed and part of a wall fell in, Christian County schools Superintendent Bob Lovingood said.

Classes were canceled again Tuesday districtwide because of swamped roads.

Residents were hoping to avoid another deluge from the remnants of Katrina.

"We hope for it to go some other direction besides on top of us," Lovingood said. "We've seen enough."

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)