State Officials Recommend Evacuation of Panbowl Lake Floodplain

KY 15 will be closed beginning at 9:30 tonight

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 28, 2022) – Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Water officials Thursday evening, out of an abundance of caution, recommended that homes and businesses in the floodplain of Panbowl Lake in Jackson, Kentucky be evacuated.

A muddy discharge observed at the Panbowl Lake dam combined with rising waters of the North Fork of the Kentucky River from the recent heavy rains, promoted the recommendation. Kentucky Emergency Management Director Jeremy Slinker conveyed the recommendation to local Jackson officials and the Breathitt County Emergency Manager on Thursday.

Records indicate there are approximately 110 homes, 13 businesses, two churches, a school and a hospital that could be impacted by the flooding.

“The most appropriate action we can take right now is to do everything we can to keep residents safe,” Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman said.

In addition, KY 15, the major north-south thoroughfare linking the upper Kentucky River valley with the rest of the state, will be closed beginning at 9:30 tonight as floodwaters from the North Fork of the Kentucky River continue to rise.

The closure is at milepoint 17.7 within the city limits of Jackson, between Lakeside Drive and the KY 15/KY 30 intersection. The highway traverses Panbowl Dam; which was impounded when this section of KY 15 was built in the early 1960s.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet personnel will be at the site to monitor the situation overnight. Energy and Environment Cabinet personnel will be onsite Friday morning to continue assessing the situation. Once the river crests, KYTC will assess the situation and reopen the road when it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, any traffic from central Kentucky bound for Hazard should use alternate routes such as I-75 and the Hal Rogers Parkway through London and Manchester, or the Mountain Parkway, KY 114, US 23, and KY 80 through Prestonsburg.