Governor, State Officials Monitoring Storm, Prepare for Cleanup

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Photos by Staff Sgt. Aaron Hiler, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear briefs the State of the Commonwealth at the Boone National Guard Center, Wednesday 27 April 2011 (Photos by Staff Sgt. Aaron Hiler, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment).

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 27, 2011) – After a full day of heavy storms and rising floodwaters, Governor Steve Beshear and Kentucky’s Emergency Management team remind Kentucky citizens to remain vigilant as the last storms sweep across the state.

Weather officials are investigating reports of possible tornadoes and wind damage in several areas across the state.  Further storms are possible tonight, especially in the south and east portions of the state.  No injuries or fatalities have been reported.

“Our citizens have endured days of consecutive severe storms and flooding, and we remain in contact with local emergency officials as well as FEMA to make sure our communities get the help they need,” said Gov. Beshear.  “We stand ready to assist any community in need, and we urge Kentuckians to remain on alert until this storm system finally passes.”

Gov. Beshear today instructed local officials to begin assessing damages from this storm as quickly as possible.  Damage assessments will help the state deliver needed services and will help determine if the state may qualify for a federal disaster declaration.

Possible tornado touchdowns have been reported in Cumberland, Hopkins, Grayson, and Hardin Counties, and damages to homes and businesses have been reported in Clarkson in Grayson County and Glendale in Hardin County.

Since the beginning of this storm system late last week, parts of western and west-central Kentucky have received as much as 10 to 14 inches of rain.  The Ohio andMississippi rivers continue to rise and may reach historic flood levels, especially near the Kentucky/Tennessee line.

Further rounds of severe weather are expected through this evening, with significant flash flooding, damaging winds and tornadoes possible, primarily over eastern and southern parts of the state.

On Monday, Gov. Beshear declared a state of emergency to allow local officials immediate access to state resources to assist in public safety and recovery efforts.  Since the storms moved in late last week, 38 counties and 17 cities have declared local disasters.  Citizens are encouraged to report damages immediately to the local emergency management office and the National Weather Service at 1-877-633-6772.

The Kentucky National Guard has deployed 125 Guardsmen to assist in water barrier and sandbagging efforts in Ohio, Livingston, Ballard, Fulton and Hendersoncounties.  More Guardsmen may be deployed as needed.  The state’s Emergency Operations Center is activated at Level 3, which means all state Cabinet liaisons are present to assist the Emergency Management team in resource requests and incident management.

State officials also remain in close contact with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as they monitor the levels of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.  Both rivers are still rising and could pose significant flooding risk.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) and local health departments across the state are prepared to provide support to response efforts as needed. DPH also reminds Kentuckians that contact with flood waters should be avoided whenever possible as they may contain contaminants that could pose health hazards. Homeowners whose homes sustained water damage are also urged to follow safety recommendations to limit mold damage and ensure proper food handling and storage. More detailed health and safety guidelines can be found at the Health Alerts website: http://healthalerts.ky.gov/.

The Transportation Cabinet is providing equipment like pumps, dump trucks and sandbagging machines to counties who have requested them.  Crews are also patrolling flood-prone areas and they are ready to respond to additional flooding. They also respond to calls about flooded roads that come from law enforcement or the public at large.

For road closures and conditions, please visit www.511.ky.gov , or call 511.

Emergency officials encourage individuals to use NOAA Weather Alert Radios and stay tuned to local media for weather updates and flood information.

Should you encounter a downed power line, do not approach it, call your utility provider.  Should you encounter water over a flooded roadway, “Stop – Turn Around – Don’t Drown!”  It only takes six inches of moving water to sweep a person off their feet and two feet of rushing water to sweep away a full-size SUV.

Weather safety tips and weather alerts by county can be found on the KYEM website at www.kyem.ky.gov.

Counties and Cities with Declared States of Emergency

Declared Counties:  Ballard, Bath, Calloway, Carlisle, Carroll, Carter, Crittenden, Daviess, Elliott, Fleming, Franklin, Fulton, Grayson, Green, Hardin, Henderson, Hickman, Kenton, Lawrence, Lewis, Livingston, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McCracken, McLean, Menifee, Morgan, Muhlenberg, Nicholas, Ohio, Oldham, Spencer, Trigg, Union, Washington and Webster.

Declared Cities:  Bardwell, Benton, Brandenburg, Cadiz, Calvert City, Carlisle, Carrollton, Frenchburg, Greensburg, Hardin, Hartford, Hawesville, Lewisport, Maysville, West Liberty, West Point, and Wickliffe.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear briefs the State of the Commonwealth at the Boone National Guard Center, Wednesday 27 April 2011 (Photos by Staff Sgt. Aaron Hiler, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment).

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