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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Simone Wester woke up Friday to the sight of boats carting away her neighbors as torrential rains swamped portions of Kentucky's largest city, forcing emergency crews to navigate flooded neighborhoods and make more than 100 rescues.
"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 she didn't know who took off his socks and waded through the floodwaters toward her. The man, Kevin Mansfield, charted a navigable path and ushered her out of the flooding.
Severe thunderstorms rumbling across the state were blamed for the death of a woman who was camping with her family at Natural Bridge State Park in east-central Kentucky. Catherine Carlson, 45, was killed and her husband was injured when a large tree limb fell on their tent, said Powell County Coroner Hondo Hearne. Their three children didn't appear to be injured, he said. The limb fell as storms packing high winds, heavy rain and hail swept through the area early Friday.
Elsewhere, a northern Kentucky school bus with 16 students aboard was stranded by floodwaters that covered roads to schools.
The heavy rains started Thursday and continued Friday. Some areas received 1 to 2 inches per hour, said National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Schoettmer. Some of the heaviest rains occurred along or just south of the Interstate 64 corridor in central Kentucky, he said.
More than 6 inches of rain fell in Louisville, and Lexington had received more than 5 inches, he said.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said more than 160 water rescues had been made.
Bill Mattingly, assistant chief of the Okolona Fire Protection District, said floodwaters started pouring into first-floor apartments overnight.
Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville canceled classes Friday.
Associated Press writer Rebecca Yonker contributed to this report.