Statewide emergency declared: Death toll rises to 21

By Rachel Aretakis

Gov. Steve Beshear declared a statewide emergency on Friday, as 21 people have died and more than 300 were injured in Friday’s storms, state officials say.

As of Sunday morning, The Associated Press reported that 38 people died in four states: Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Alabama and Georgia.

Gov. Steve Beshear said in a briefing Sunday afternoon that 21 people across the state had died from the storms.

“The scope and magnitude of devastation in some of our communities is unlike anything I have ever seen,” Beshear said in a press release.

The National Weather Service confirmed three tornadoes touched down in Henderson, Muhlenberg and Trimble counties, according to a news release.

“We have reports of heavy damage in some areas of the state already, but the storm system has not cleared Kentucky yet,” Beshear said in a press release. “By declaring a state of emergency now for the entire state, we can deploy any needed state assistance, such as National Guard troops, without delay.”

Four were confirmed dead in Laurel County, Ky., by Saturday morning, said Trooper First Class Don Trosper, a Kentucky State Police public affairs officer in London, Ky.

A fifth death occurred in late morning.

Forty-one people were taken to the hospital in London. Another six were taken to UK’s hospital, five by helicopter and one by ambulance, he said.

Search and rescue operations are still under way for East Bernstadt, Ky., which is located about five miles north of London, Trosper said.

There are between 21,728 and 23,000 power outages statewide, according to reports from the Office of the Governor and the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

Heavy damage has been reported in Trimble, Morgan and Kenton counties, with some damage in Pendleton County.

Beshear authorized 275 National Guard Troops to assist Johnson, Laurel, Magoffin, Menifee and Morgan counties with storm-related damages, according to a press release.

Weather safety tips and weather alerts by county can be found on the Kentucky Emergency Management website at

From Beshear’s office:

Missing Persons

Friends or family who have been unable to locate loved ones since Friday’s storms are encouraged to register the missing person’s information on the Kentucky Emergency Management website at or through the American Red Cross Safe and Well Program at

Meeting Critical Needs

Several shelters have opened by the Red Cross to accommodate citizens displaced by the storm:

• Elliott County High School

Main Street

Sandy Hook, KY

• Lawrence County High School

100 Bulldog Lane

Louisa, KY

• Grant County High School

715 Warsaw Rd.

Dry Ridge, KY

• Laurel Fire Dept.

911 TLC Lane

London, KY

• Morgan Co. Community Center

147 Victory Ave.

Bedford, KY

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