People work to clear a house from a bridge near the Whitesburg Recycling Center in Letcher County, Ky., on Friday, July 29, 2022. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP)

Intense heatwaves, flooding and fires are slamming parts of the United States resulting in deaths, anguish and destruction. Parts of the Northwest and South are still trying to recover from record-breaking high temperatures and rain that resulted in historic flash flooding.  

Severe storms that began on July 28 swept through eastern Kentucky, leaving between 8 and 10.5 inches of rain within a 48-hour period.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear stated, “At least 37 people have been confirmed dead, and the death toll will continue to rise as the flood waters and debris recedes.” Widespread damage displaced thousands of people, including power outages for thousands and washed-out roads, destroyed homes, and flooded schools,” reported nesdis.noaa.gov.

President Joe Biden declared an official disaster emergency, opening up federal funding for individuals in Breathitt, Clay, Knott, Letcher, and Perry counties through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Many rivers have since crested. On the North Fork Kentucky River, the gauge at Whitesburg stopped recording at 20.91 feet.  The previous record was 14.7 feet. High rivers washed out bridges and roads throughout the area. This makes recovery and repairs, as well as access to support residents, even more difficult.

The site disasterphilanthropy.org reported, “More than 100 bridges were damaged or destroyed including at least 50 in Perry County, 50 to 70 in Knott County and dozens in Breathitt County.”

Historical flash flooding also inundated St. Louis, Missouri, and its surrounding counties in late July. On July 25-26, St. Louis was hit with more than nine inches of rain within a 24-hour period, surpassing a record set on August 19-20, 1915, of 7.02 inches of rain accumulated, according to the National Weather Service.

Floodwater surrounded vehicles throughout St. Louis area streets and crept up to apartments and other buildings, videos on social media showed.

A video posted by Victorria Adams on Storyful (video.storyful.com), showed a rescuer kneeling on the top of the roof of a flooded car and handing a child to other rescuers in a boat.

One person was found dead in a vehicle that had become stuck in eight and a half feet of water.

“Joint assessments determined more than $35 million in damage to uninsured infrastructure and emergency response costs were incurred by the City of St. Louis and St. Louis, St. Charles and Montgomery counties,” Missouri Governor Mike Parson reported via governor.mo.gov.

“Of 1,338 homes assessed, more than 750 had sustained major damage. Assessments also showed 131 of 206 businesses that were examined had sustained major damage,” he added.

Student Minister Abdul Haleem Muhammad, the Southwest Regional Minister of the Nation of Islam and urban planner out of Houston, Texas, explained the tremendous damage flooding can cause.

“Flooding can undermine the foundation of roads, bridges, and buildings. When there’s flooding, it affects the wastewater system. The wastewater is overwhelmed, the sewage system is overwhelmed, and the storm water system is overwhelmed. When your storm water system is overwhelmed, then it has no way of dissipating the water,” he told The Final Call.

“When your wastewater system is overwhelmed, then what happens is you have a backup of human waste. The flood water has human waste in it, which is a health hazard. And when your water purification system is overwhelmed, then you can’t drink the water. You have to boil the water.”

What is happening is not by happenstance and the severe weather pummeling America is divine in nature. In the book, “Fall of America,” by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, he states in Chapter 34 titled, ‘The Judgment of America’: “These are some of Allah’s (God’s) weapons, the storms that we see going on. The fall of America is now going on! She is falling! The cause of her fall is universally known, as it was with ancient Babylon. Righteousness, justice and freedom are despised and fought against regardless to the clear knowledge of God’s hourly punishment and destruction of America by His divine plague of storms.”

As a city expands, certain groups are usually pushed into marshlands or bayous or other high-risk areas, explained Samantha Montano, an assistant professor of emergency management at Massachusetts Maritime Academy to cnn.com. Infrastructure also plays a role. Low-income communities tend to receive far less investment in their infrastructure, which in turn becomes more vulnerable,” added Ms. Montano.

“So, when there is a rainstorm or another hazard happens, the infrastructure isn’t able to withstand those impacts like the more up-to-date infrastructure in a wealthier community can.”

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, like his teacher the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, has issued a warning to “watch the weather.”  

“I told you to watch the weather that the distress would come, the fall of your dollar and the weakness of your economy! This is what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad has said, and this is what his faithful Minister has said,” Min. Farrakhan stated in a message titled, “Guidance for Our President and Our Nation,” delivered in 2012 yet remains relevant today.

 “Watch the weather! Because God doesn’t fight with your cheap weapons! God fights with the forces of nature: Rain, hail, snow, wind, drought. He uses the insects and animals and turns nature against you. You can’t win in a war against God,” he warned.

At Final Call presstime, Northern California was still battling California’s largest fire so far this year, named the McKinney Fire. The wildfire has burned nearly 88 square miles and is the largest of several wildfires burning in the Klamath National Forest. More than 100 homes and other buildings have burned in the McKinney Fire.

The U.S. Forest Service shut down a 110-mile section of the famed Pacific Crest Trail in Northern California and southern Oregon. Authorities helped 60 hikers in that area evacuate, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon, because of fire.

In northwestern Montana, a fire started near the town of Elmo on the Flathead Indian Reservation. The blaze measured 25 square miles, with 10 percent containment.

Western Montana is also battling Elmo 2, which burned 12,975 acres, with zero percent containment at presstime.

(Shawntell Muhammad can be contacted at [email protected])