FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 11, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on his administration’s response to last night’s deadly quad-state tornado. At more than 200 miles long, the storm event was the longest tornado track on record and the largest in Kentucky history.
“I want to thank every local emergency management employee, police officer, firefighter and first responder. This has been one of the toughest nights in Kentucky history. It’s hard to put into words,” said Gov. Beshear. “Remember, each of these lost lives are children of God, irreplaceable to their families and communities. But we will make it through this. We will rebuild. We are strong, resilient people – and we’re going to be there every step of the way. This is one state standing strong.”
The Governor immediately declared a state of emergency and activated over 180 Kentucky National Guard members as well as the Kentucky State Police. The state also is using armories as places of refuge for Kentuckians in need of shelter.
State workers are on the ground to help clear roadways and debris. The Governor said he is working to quickly establish the Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund to accept donations to help communities across this region recover.
The Governor already has held two media briefings, with at least two more planned today. During this morning’s briefing in Mayfield, he 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 that we would lose over 50 Kentuckians. I’m now certain that number is north of 70. It may in fact end up exceeding 100 before the day is done. The damage is even worse now that we have first light. A couple places have been hit incredibly hard, certainly Mayfield here in Graves County, but everywhere along the line of this tornado that touched down and stayed down for 227 miles.”
The Governor added: “Kentucky is united today behind the people of Western Kentucky. We want to be here to help dig out, to help make rescues, to help provide when people are suffering and then to help rebuild. This is not a one-day thing. This is one state, and we will stand united to make sure that we can lift our families back up. But please know that there are a lot of families that need your prayers, prayers that somebody may be found or prayers to help them through the grieving process.”
Gov. Beshear Requests Federal Emergency Declaration
Gov. Beshear said he has spoken directly to President Joe Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Deanne Criswell about his request for a federal emergency declaration. The Governor said he is expecting to receive approval.
“This will bring additional resources to Western Kentucky counties devastated by these tornadoes and allow for quicker reimbursements. I appreciate the President’s swift response during our time of need. Now we can get to work supporting our people as we recover,” said Gov. Beshear. “The entire commonwealth is with all of Western Kentucky, and those Kentuckians impacted are in our thoughts and prayers. We will get through this together.”
Gov. Beshear Signs Executive Order Prohibiting Price Gouging
Today, Gov. Beshear signed an executive order prohibiting price gouging in the aftermath of devastating storms overnight Friday that took multiple lives and left widespread damage.
Under the state declaration, Gov. Beshear is empowered to implement certain provisions to protect consumers. The Governor’s executive order prevents the sale of goods or services, such as gasoline, at a price grossly in excess of its sale point before the state of emergency was declared. The executive order remains in place for the duration of the state of emergency.