Severe weather in Kentucky has left at least four people dead and more than 500,000 homes without power, according to Governor Andy Beshear. The fatalities occurred in Simpson County, Edmonson County, Logan County, and Lexington. A tree fell on a car, killing one person in Lexington, while the causes of the other three deaths are yet to be determined. Beshear issued a state of emergency ahead of the severe weather event and signed an order that would allow the Kentucky National Guard to be activated if an emergency response is needed.
The National Weather Service has warned of strong to severe storms between noon and 5 p.m. EST, ahead of and along a cold front, and said that damaging winds are expected. The heaviest rainfall totals are expected north of the Western Kentucky and Bluegrass parkways. A tornado watch is in effect for most of Western Kentucky, and a flood watch is in effect across Southern Indiana and portions of Central Kentucky. Isolated hail up to the size of a quarter is possible.
The Kentucky State Police has requested that people do not call 911 for traffic and weather updates, and to contact the KSP at (800) 222-5555 if they see or suspect that someone is stranded on the roadways. Kentucky Emergency Management Director Jeremy Slinker has urged Kentuckians to make sure that they have emergency kits in their cars and homes, filled with food, water, first aid kits, batteries, and rain gear. Slinker also reminded people not to put generators indoors, and to use them 8-10 feet outside their residences to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Governor Beshear expressed concern about the emotional distress caused by the severe weather and urged those who need help or someone to talk to call or text the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990. The 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.
The severe weather comes after a series of natural disasters, including the deadly tornado outbreak in December 2021 and the winter storm that hit the state in February 2022, leaving thousands without power and water for days. Beshear said that the Kentucky National Guard had been mobilized to help with disaster response and that state agencies were working with local governments to respond to the impacts of the severe weather.
The governor also urged Kentuckians to take necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families from the severe weather. “With everything we have been through, I want to make sure that everyone is safe today,” he said.