The East St. Louis, Illinois, region was hit with historic rainfall early July 26 flash flooding many homes and vehicles. Photo: Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat via AP

JACKSON, Ky.—Trapped homeowners swam to safety and others were rescued by boat as record flash flooding killed more than 16 people in Kentucky and swamped entire Appalachian towns, prompting a frenzied search for survivors July 29 through some of the poorest communities in America.

Authorities warned the death toll would likely grow sharply as search efforts continued. The rain let up early morning July 29, but some waterways were not expected to crest until Saturday later and more storms are forecast to roll through the region in early August.

It’s the latest in a string of catastrophic deluges that have hammered parts of the U.S. this summer, including St. Louis in late July. (AP)