Gabriel Hensley, a father of five who stopped to help an injured driver and was later swept away by floodwaters himself was found dead this week, as the storm damage across eastern Kentucky complicates efforts to find the many people still unaccounted for.
“He was a hero,” his wife, Macy, told CNN. “He was the one that was out helping people instead of worrying about himself.”
Hensley, 30, is among at least 38 people whose deaths were connected to the late July floods. Heavily damaged infrastructure has made some communities nearly impossible to access, and accounting for everyone will likely be a weekslong process, Gov. Andy Beshear said.
Many who survived the floods are finding themselves in destroyed communities. Scores of people have lost their homes. Some remain stranded because of washed-out roads, without access to clean water or electricity, unable to reach loved ones because of lost cell service and unable to receive critical supplies, including medication.
And as those communities struggle to recover, they face another weather threat this week: scorching heat. A heat advisory was issued for eastern Kentucky – including the areas hit hardest by the floods – from noon Wednesday to Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service.
Beshear announced eight cooling centers will be open across the region, warning residents weather conditions will be “really hot and really dangerous.”