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Governor asks for patience as many Kentuckians clean up, wait for power restoration

Screenshot of KU Outage Map at approximately 12pm 030423
Screenshot of KU Outage Map at approximately 12pm 030423

At least five people were killed in Kentucky during deadly storms that swept across the Commonwealth. Thousands are still without power, and damage is being found in nearly every county. WUKY’s Karyn Czar reports.

Release from the Governor's Office:

Today, Gov. Andy Beshear briefed Kentuckians after severe storms produced violent thunderstorms, dangerous winds, flooding and several small tornadoes. Wind speeds in some locations surpassed 70 mph. At least five Kentuckians died because of the storms.

Yesterday, the Governor declared a state of emergency ahead of the severe weather and closed state office buildings at 11 a.m. EST.

“These were very serious storms, but thankfully we saw the potential impact early and Kentuckians took the advice given, which made a big difference,” said Gov. Beshear. “When it comes to power, this is going to be a multi-day event as we recover from very significant and widespread damage to power lines. We need everyone to continue to use caution in the days ahead. Accidents can still happen due to downed power lines and high water. We’ve heartbreakingly already loss 5 people and we don’t want to lose any more, so please stay alert.”

Kentucky Emergency Management Director Jeremy Slinker reminded Kentuckians about generator safety and staying away from power lines. “Always remember not to use generators indoors,” he said. “Countless numbers of poles and lines are down – always assume they are hot, and do not get near them. Report these downed lines to authorities.”

  • Damage assessments are in progress across the commonwealth and will be ongoing.
  • Four direct fatalities have been confirmed: a 23-year-old male in Edmonson County; a 63-year-old male in Logan County; a 68-year-old male in Simpson County; and a 41-year-old female in Fayette County.
  • One indirect fatality has been confirmed: a 84-year-old male in Bath County.
  • As of 11:11 a.m. EST, 396,517 Kentucky customers were without power. The storm caused a total of 536,569 outages, but power has already been restored for more than 140,000 customers.
  • Utility companies are preparing for a multi-day effort to restore power.
  • 1,874 Kentuckians are under a boil water advisory.
  • There was no significant damage to travel trailer sites housing survivors of the Western Kentucky tornadoes and Eastern Kentucky floods. Jenny Wiley State Park has lost power, but that does not impact water availability or the function of any travel trailers.
  • Eight counties have filed emergency declarations and 29 counties have announced plans to do so, while two cities have filed emergency declarations, with nine cities having announced plans to file. Click here for an updated list.
  • One shelter in Hardin County housed five people on Friday evening. KYEM is reaching out to all county emergency managers to assess potential needs.
  • Five water districts are under limited operations: Barkley Lake, Edmonson County, Scottsville, Campbellsville and Greensburg.
  • Team Kentucky has provided resource support, including:
    • Five oxygen tanks have been provided to homebound patients in Woodford County.
    • Three generators have gone to Grayson County for water treatment purposes.
    • One trailer of water for Taylor County; and
    • One National Guard Toss Team and Forestry Cut Team were deployed to McCracken County on Friday and finished their work on Friday.
  • Emergency and transportation crews have cleared storm debris and hazardous materials from roadways.
  • Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray signed an order providing regulatory relief for commercial vehicles assisting with power restoration and debris removal within affected areas.
  • The Governor asked Kentuckians to avoid calling 911 for traffic and weather updates. The Kentucky State Police requests that if you see or suspect that someone is stranded on the roadways, contact KSP at 800-222-5555.
  • The Governor activated the state’s price gouging laws to protect families from grossly overpriced goods and services. With the state of emergency in place, consumers in the commonwealth can report price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General. Under state law, price gougers can be held accountable.
  • The Governor also reminded Kentuckians to never put generators indoors and to use them at least 8-10 feet outside of their residence, where there’s no chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If you need help or someone to talk to, we want to encourage you to call or text the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990. The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7, year-round, confidential crisis counseling and emotional support resource for survivors, responders and anyone in the U.S./territories struggling with distress or other mental health concerns related to any natural or human-caused disaster.
  • For additional disaster safety tips, visit kyem.ky.gov.
Karyn Czar joined the WUKY News team July 1, 2013, but she's no stranger to radio.