Kentucky tornado deaths up to 75, number of missing now under 20

Governor Andy Beshear holds another Team Kentucky Update.
Governor Andy Beshear holds another Team Kentucky Update.(WKYT)
Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 11:10 AM CST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT/WXIX) - Governor Andy Beshear held another Team Kentucky Update on Thursday:

Gov. Beshear is back at the state capital after surveying the tornado damage in Western Kentucky on Wednesday. The governor and first lady were with President Joe Biden as he toured Mayfield and Dawson Springs.

Both communities sustained major destruction in the powerful weekend storms.

The number of people confirmed dead in last week’s tornadoes is up slightly, while the number of missing is down drastically, Gov. Beshear announced Thursday.

The death toll from the tornadoes that devasted Kentucky late Friday and early Saturday is 75, with more possible, Gov. Beshear said.

The number of people missing has went gone from more than 100 earlier this week to 16 on Thursday.

“We are not broken - we are not broken - even when it feels like it. We will – we will – clear this chaos from our towns,” Gov. Beshear asserted.

Around 3,280 people remain without power, according to Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett.

The National Weather Service issued its preliminary damage rating on Wednesday for one of the tornadoes.

The tornado that started in Arkansas and tracked more than 200 miles on the ground through Kentucky reached an EF4 level, the NWS determined.

The EF4 assessment covers 128 miles of that track, from Fulton County to Muhlenberg County over a two-plus hour span from 8:56-11:10 p.m. on Dec. 10.

The governor said they are still trying to tabulate the total amount of losses.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. we are trying to lay over the path, using PVA information. but you look at the courthouse in Graves County, a multi-million dollar building, just destroyed,” said Beshear.

President Biden announced Wednesday that the federal government will cover 100% of the cost for Kentucky’s first 30 days of emergency services.

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