Gov. Beshear and Kentucky Leadership Tour Devastation from Friday’s Severe Weather

For Immediate Release
Photos by Capt. Steve Martin and TSgt Jason Ketterer, Public Affairs, Kentucky National Guard 

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Kentucky Leadership assesses West Liberty, KY

Kentucky's Governor Steve Beshear, Maj. Gen. Ed Tonini, the adjutant general, and Brig. Gen. John Heltzel, the director of Kentucky's emergency management, assess the damage in West Liberty, Ky. after the tornados of Friday 2 March. (photo courtesy of Kentucky National Guard, Public Affairs).

FRANKFORT, Ky.  (March 3, 2012) — Governor Steve Beshear and Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson and Kentucky’s Guard leadership are touring devastated areas across the Commonwealth.

The powerful storms caused widespread damage in forty Kentucky counties.

Gov. Beshear will view damages in West Liberty (Morgan County), Salyersville (Magoffin County), and Piner (Kenton County) today along with Adjutant General Ed Tonini, Senator Damon Thayer, of Georgetown, and Senator Robert Stivers, of Manchester.  Lt. Gov. Abramson will visit East Bernstadt in Laurel County.

More than 220 National Guard Troops have been deployed to assist Johnson, Laurel, Magoffin, Menifee and Morgan counties with storm-related damages.

The Kentucky Department of Public Health has reported a total of 17 fatalities reported to the agency by local coroners.  Due to a discrepancy in reporting, the number of fatalities in Menifee has been changed.  Four fatalities have been reported in Laurel County, four in Morgan County, three in Kenton County, two in Johnson County, two in Menifee County, and two in Lawrence County.  Approximately 300 injuries have been reported.

Gov. Beshear declared a statewide emergency Friday to allow local officials immediate access to state resources to assist in public safety and recovery efforts.  Ten counties have declared states of emergency: Bath, Campbell, Johnson, Kenton, Laurel, Lawrence, Magoffin, Pendleton, Rowan, and Trimble counties as well as the city of Paintsville.

Trained spotters and law enforcement officers throughout the state reported 13 tornadoes in Kentucky, according to Kentucky Emergency Management. Damage assessments and rescue missions continue.  Severe storms began rolling across the Commonwealth Friday afternoon beginning in the far western part of the state and moved north and east of the Ohio River from Indiana.

Donations and Assistance Citizens are strongly discouraged from driving through damaged areas, or traveling to damaged areas in an unsolicited effort to assist.  Emergency responders need unfettered access to roads to continue rescue missions and assessment efforts.

Individuals wishing to provide assistance should contact their local Red Cross agency to determine ways to help those affected by the storms.

Missing Persons Friends or family who have been unable to locate loved ones since Friday’s
storms are encouraged to register the missing person’s information on the Kentucky Emergency Management website at www.kyem.ky.gov or through the American Red Cross Safe and Well Program at www.americanredcross.org.

Shelters Open

Several shelters have opened by the Red Cross to accommodate citizens
displaced by the storm:
*     Elliott County High School
Main Street
Sandy Hook, KY

*     Lawrence County High School
100 Bulldog Lane
Louisa, KY

*     Grant County High School
715 Warsaw Rd.
Dry Ridge, KY

*     Laurel Fire Dept.
911 TLC Lane
London, KY

For media updates, contact the Commonwealth Joint Information Center at 502-607-6902, 502-607-6903, or 502-607-6904.

Weather safety tips and weather alerts by county can be found on the Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) website at www.kyem.ky.gov.  Road conditions are available at www.511.ky.gov.

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