Five dead as wind storm cleanup continues around state

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, March 8, 2023

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Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday gave updated information on the recovery efforts following the severe weather outbreak that affected much of the state on Friday and left at least five people dead.

During a Capitol press conference, Beshear said he traveled to McCracken County on Sunday so he could inspect the damage from a tornado that struck the Fremont community, south of Paducah, and described what he saw.

“An EF-2 tornado went basically down their main street for a mile and a half,” he said. “I stood in one woman’s damaged home, where there was a pinecone lodged in the wall. Half the house was gone, but she emerged without a scratch. Her cat was OK, even her mom’s plants are OK. It was nothing short of a miracle.”

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Fortunately, there were no injuries there, despite damage to many homes and a church. The National Weather Service office in Paducah says the tornado generated estimated top winds of 125 miles per hour.

The Governor also released the latest figures on outages, as of mid-day Monday:

• 307 water service connections are out statewide.

• 5,598 water service connections remain under a boil water advisory, which is down from 10,000 at the height of the storms.

• 10 drinking water systems are in limited operation, primarily due to a power outage.  They are Beattyville Water, Booneville Water, East Casey Water & Sewer, Edmonson County Water District, Hazard Water Department, Hindman Municipal Water, Science Hill Water, South Anderson Water, Southern Water and Sewer, and Western Pulaski Water.

• In addition to the state emergency declaration Beshear issued Friday morning, 64 counties (26 written, 34 verbal), and 19 cities have issued local declarations.

• 124,898 are still without electricity, although the Governor said he thought a lot of the outages will be resolved today.

“From what we’ve seen, we believe this will qualify for a federal disaster declaration on the public assistance side,” he said. “It remains to be seen if it will qualify for individual assistance.”

He added there is a little good news for some Kentuckians. “For those who are insured, insurance will cover a lot of the damage that has been done in a windstorm, tornado, or other thunderstorms.”

The five known fatalities from Friday included a 23-year-old man in Edmonson County, a 63-year-old man in Logan County, an 84-year-old man in Bath County, a 68-year-old man in Simpson County and a 41-year- old woman in Fayette County.