National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


A historic flash flooding event unfolded during the overnight and into the morning hours on July 19, 2023 across far western Kentucky into portions of southern Illinois. Widespread rainfall totals ranging from 6 to 12 inches occurred from Cape Girardeau to Paducah, Mayfield, and Murray. The majority of this rain fell within a 10 hour window between Midnight and 10 AM. Among the hardest hit counties was Graves County, which had not completely recovered from a catastrophic tornado in December of 2021. Widespread flash flooding of roads made travel difficult or impossible for several hours during the peak of the heaviest rainfall in the morning. The city of Mayfield, which bore the brunt of the December 2021 tornado, experienced catastrophic flooding that inundated many homes, businesses, schools, and various other institutions. 

Our office issued 5 Flash Flood Emergencies during this event, including all or portions of Ballard, Carlisle, Hickman, Graves, and McCracken counties in Kentucky and Pulaski county in Illinois. Impacts included numerous water rescues, many homes and businesses inundated by flood waters with some people trapped in their homes, washed out roads, and dozens of roads impassable due to flood waters. At one point a section of I-57 in Pulaski County Illinois and I-69 in Graves County Kentucky were closed due to high water flowing over them. Crop damage was expected to run into the millions of dollars. At one farm alone in southern Graves County, crop damage was estimated around 40,000 dollars.

nws logo Media use of NWS Web News Stories is encouraged!
Please acknowledge the NWS as the source of any news information accessed from this site.
nws logo