LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Stormy weather blamed for 12 deaths in the Midwest and South subsided on Sunday, though residents in some states remained shut out of their homes due to high waters.
"It looks like everything's kind of quieting down, and things are being handled on the local level right now," said Buddy Rogers, a spokesman for the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management in Frankfort.
The storms that hit parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee Friday and Saturday stranded people in cars, forced others from their homes and left thousands without power.
The death toll in Kentucky reached eight, including a father and his 1-year-old daughter in a truck that skidded in floodwaters. Two deaths were reported in Arkansas, and in Illinois, authorities say lightning was the apparent cause of a house fire that killed elderly two women.
The National Weather Service reported that areas of Kentucky received at least 5 inches of rain, with isolated regions getting close to 10 inches. Over 24 hours, parts of northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri received more than 10 inches of rain, the weather service reported.
In Kentucky, about 200 people at Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival were evacuated by boats and school buses to transport after rising waters forced an evacuation, said Ruthann Phillips of the Red Cross.
"It was almost Katrina-like pretty much," said Chester Craig, a lieutenant with the Mercer Central Volunteer Fire Department. "There were vehicles underwater and people were walking around in a daze."
Arkansas rivers swelled up to 8 feet above flood levels, officials said. Campers at River Bend Park in Hardy, Ark., were asked to evacuate when the Spring River began rising.
"I didn't think we were going to make it out of there," said Charles Lenderman, who awoke Saturday morning to find knee-high water in his camper's kitchen. Lenderman and family members — wearing life jackets — swam from the camper to higher ground about 100 yards away.
In central and eastern Missouri, nearly 400 structures were damaged or destroyed and at least 10 people were injured by about 10 tornadoes, officials said.