FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 2, 2012) – In response to an outbreak of intense storms Friday, Gov. Steve Beshear declared a statewide emergency to allow local officials immediate access to state resources to assist in public safety and recovery efforts.
“We have reports of heavy damage in some areas of the state already, but the storm system has not cleared Kentucky yet,” said Gov. Beshear. “By declaring a state of emergency now for the entire state, we can deploy any needed state assistance, such as National Guard troops, without delay.”
The National Weather Service initially confirmed three tornados that touched down in Henderson, Muhlenberg and Trimble counties. The Trimble County tornado also crossed into neighboring Carroll County.
Reports to Kentucky Emergency Management in Frankfort included:
· Heavy damage to Trimble County Fire Station No. 2, near Milton
· Heavy damage reported in West Liberty in Morgan County, and Piner in Kenton County and some damage in Pendleton County.
· 23,000 power outages statewide
· Three injuries – two in Trimble County, one in Union County
· Flash flooding on U.S. 25 and KY 1344 in Middlesboro
· 17 homes and 20 units of an apartment complex heavily damaged in Harvester subdivision near Crittenden in Grant County
Gov. Beshear and state officials remind drivers that it is extremely important not to travel into flooded areas. Motorists need to heed barricades and warning signs and avoid areas where roads have been closed because they can quickly find themselves driving into high water or cut off by floodwaters.
The Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center (CEOC), located in Frankfort, remains activated at Level III with additional staffing from Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM), KYNG, state cabinets and volunteer organizations monitoring the situation, fielding calls and responding to requests for assistance.
Weather safety tips and weather alerts by county can be found on the Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) website at www.kyem.ky.gov.
Citizens are encouraged to avoid downed power lines, and to report downed lines to their local utility provider or 911.
The outbreak of storms was the second in three days in Kentucky. In response to an outbreak on Wednesday, Department of Insurance disaster response team members are scheduled to be in Hardin and LaRue counties on Saturday. They will be meeting with emergency management officials who will direct them to the hardest-hit areas.