MAYFIELD, Ky. (FOX 56) – In a news conference Sunday, Gov. Beshear said, “There is no lens big enough to show you the extent of the damage in Graves County or in Kentucky.”
The governor painted a vivid picture of what he has seen in the past 40 hours of whats considered to be the most devastating tornado event in Kentucky’s history.
Eighteen counties are accounted to have been devastated by the tornados.
“As of this morning, we have about 36-50 thousand Kentuckians without power, but I will say that is improving,” Beshear said. “Nothing that was standing in the direct line of this tornado is still standing.”
Mayfield, Dawson Springs, Bremen, and Bowling Green are the cities hit hardest, by what the governor believes to be the longest tornado in US history.
“From the point where it touched down to when it finally picked back up. 220 miles. 200 of them are in my state with our people,” Beshear said.
The National Weather Service has confirmed there were four tornados, possibly many more.
Kentucky was granted the federal state of emergency almost immediately Saturday, and over 300 national guardsmen have been deployed for debris removal and law enforcement capacity.
“They’re doing everything from going door to door though. In many of these communities we don’t have doors anymore,” Beshear said. “They’re going rubble to rubble searching hopefully for survivors, otherwise to have certainty for families that we can advise them of their loss.”
Beshear acknowledged the transportation cabinet and hundreds of Kentucky workers on-site with trucks, helping clear the debris. The Division of Forestry assists with tree removal as well.
“And when you think 40 hours in that is a testament to the people and the workers here,” Beshear said.
With boots on the ground, the governor now focuses on how he can supply the counties with necessities like generators to water, especially for the hospitals.
He anticipates aid from the state and federal government and plans to use those grants first for funeral assistance.
“First we have to grieve together before we rebuild together,” Beshear said.
The state launched the “Team Western Kentucky Relief Fund” online. Beshear reports that the nation has responded with 18,031 donations and $2.3 million dollars, and said every penny is going to Western Kentucky.
UPDATE: Due to technical difficulties, the news conference will not be live-streamed, but stay with FOX 56 News for a full recap once we get a copy of the Governor’s update.
MAYFIELD, Ky. (FOX56) – The Office of Gov. Andy Beshear announced they will be updating Kentuckians on the state’s response to the tornado damage across the Commonwealth.
Beshear will be accompanied by Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Gracia Szczech, regional administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency; and Michael Dossett, director, Kentucky Emergency Management.
The news conference will be Sunday, Dec. 12, at 3:15 p.m. CST (4:15 p.m. EST) at the Graves County Emergency Operations Center:
100 Dick Castleman Bypass
In a press conference Saturday, Dec. 11, Gov. Beshear said, “This will be, I believe, the deadliest tornado system to ever run through Kentucky. Earlier this morning at about 5 a.m., we were pretty sure we would lose over 50 Kentuckians. I am now certain that number is north of 70. It may, in fact, end up exceeding 100 before the day is done.”
Gov. Beshear described how the tornado cut through 227 miles of Kentucky causing significant damage, mostly in Mayfield.
Gov. Beshear declared a state of emergency early Saturday morning and requested President Biden’s assistance, along with the approval.
Gov. Beshear contacted every county judge and the Secretary of Homeland Security and said all parties have pledged their support.
Also, 180 of Kentucky’s National Guard have been activated to assist with rescue efforts, damages, and help with security, as most areas are currently without power.
In Mayfield, one shelter for tornado victims has been set up at the Mayfield High School.
To donate to the relief fund, click the following link: Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund