5 confirmed dead from Friday’s severe weather outbreak

Published 11:46 am Monday, March 6, 2023

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At least five people are confirmed dead and hundreds of thousands are without power due to the severe weather outbreak that rocked Kentucky on Friday, especially the western and central sections of the state.

During a Saturday press conference at the Capitol, Gov. Andy Beshear gave the locations and ages of the victims: 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.

While at least two tornadoes were reported in McCracken and Christian counties, and flash flooding in some areas, the main culprits during the Friday weather event were a line of severe thunderstorms, followed by intense winds, the like of which he said hadn’t been seen in Kentucky for years.

“Up to 75 miles per hour in Breckenridge County, 73 mph in Mercer, 72.4 mpg in Fayette County, 72.3 mph in Fulton County, 71.3 mph in Taylor County, 71 mph in Simpson County, 70.7 mph in Shelby County, 70.7 mph in Mason County, and a 70 mile per hour gust here in Franklin County that caused significant damage, including trees down here on the Capitol grounds .  The Emergency Operations Center lost their sign in the middle of it.”

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Beshear says after he issued a state of emergency for Kentucky in anticipation of what he believed would occur, local governments in 37 counties and 11 cities issued their own declarations.  “The biggest damage appears to be trees, powerlines and utility poles.  When it comes to power restoration, this is going to be a multi-day event.”

Around noon Saturday, there were 396,517 Kentucky customers without electricity.

He also noted the power outages were having negative effects on several water systems in the state.  “Right now, 1,874 Kentuckians are under a boil water advisory, with five water districts working under limited operations.  They are Barkley Lake, Edmonson County, Scottsville, Campbellsville and Greensburg.”

Beshear said some emergency management communications are running on generators, with Kentucky State Police offering radio service as needed, so emergency operations in the impacted counties can be active.  The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Division of Forestry are working to clear trees and debris from roads.

“We also responded to at least six semi-trucks that were blown off the road or overturned in parking lots.  We believe all of those are now cleared, and while there were concerns about potential hazardous materials on board, those are all cleaned and cleared.”

Emergency Management Director Jeremy Slinker cautioned people about safety when using a portable generator during a power outage.  “Do not use a generator indoors, that can cause illness or death.”

He also stated, never touch a downed power line.  “Call your power company and report it.  If there is a fire concern, call 9-1-1 and have local first responders come out to help you.”

There are also some areas that still have water over the road, so Slinker reminded people if they come across that, “Turn around, don’t drown.”