Key updates on the tornado response in western Kentucky
MAYFIELD, Ky. (KBSI) – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear provided his weekly Team Kentucky update on Thursday, focusing on his administration’s latest response efforts to last weekend’s quad-state tornado outbreak.
Michael Dossett, director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management and First Lady Britainy Beshear, joined him in the press conference.
To watch the press conference, tap here.
- The official death toll stands at 75 confirmed fatalities, with one additional death reported since Tuesday, Dec. 15.
- The Governor said 138 Kentuckians were treated at emergency rooms in the aftermath of the storms.
- Gov. Beshear praised President Joe Biden for his personal visit Wednesday to Mayfield and Dawson Springs and thanked the President for his quick action in declaring disaster and major disaster declarations.
- During the visit, President Biden and Gov. Beshear announced the President approved the request for the federal government to cover 100% of costs for emergency work and clean up for the first 30 days of recovery.
- Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), announced Wednesday that President Biden has made additional federal emergency aid available to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
- This assistance allows for funding at 100% federal cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, for a 30-day period from the date of declaration.
- More than 400 FEMA responders are working on the Kentucky tornado response. FEMA deployed four USAR teams (Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Missouri) which are completing their missions.
- FEMA opened a Mobile Registration Center in Bowling Green on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, until 5 p.m. CST for those affected by the tornadoes to apply for federal assistance and provide information about recovery resources.
- The center is located at: Henry F. Moss Middle School, 2565 Russellville Rd., Bowling Green, KY 42101.
- Survivors who are unable to visit the center may continue to apply for assistance by calling 800-621-3362, going online to DisasterAssistance.gov, or using the FEMA App.
- FEMA has provided the commonwealth with supplies such as meals, cots, generators, toddler kits, pandemic shelter kits and water that are available to support our ongoing sheltering operations.
- The age range of those killed now ranges from 2 months old to 98 years old.
- Gov. Beshear said there were 23 disaster declarations:
- Counties: Barren, Caldwell, Calloway, Christian, Fulton, Graves, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Taylor, Warren.
- Cities: Bowling Green, Cave City, Horse Cave, Munfordville, Park City, Princeton.
- There currently are 16 Kentuckians unaccounted for, as local, state and federal crews continue rescue and recovery efforts.
- Total number of Kentucky National Guardsmen supporting storm relief: 672.
- The National Guard mission is transitioning toward aiding law enforcement. Guard military police and security forces are working with Kentucky State Police (KSP) and local law enforcement to provide traffic control, wellness checks and patrols to deter looting.
- Gov. Beshear has signed an executive order waiving fee for disaster victims needing to replace lost operator licenses, permits and state ID cards through January 28, 2022.
- The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is setting up a temporary credential issuance station in Mayfield at 355 Charles Drive.
- Two “pop-up” driver licensing units will be ready by 8 a.m. Monday, Dec. 20, and operate each business day through the first week of January.
- A temporary driver licensing station will be set up in Dawson Springs when space is located.
- Transportation Secretary Jim Gray issued an official order that exempts commercial vehicles from certain regulations while engaged in disaster response, which has been expanded to include “vehicles transporting agricultural products, feed and supplies.”
- About 600 KYTC employees are clearing the roads and helping with recovery efforts.
- Total customers without power: about 3,280.
- Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund has received:
$14,800,437.39 fund balance
Donations can be made at teamwkyrelieffund.ky.gov.
- First Lady Britainy Beshear’s Western Kentucky Toy Drive has collected at least 70,000 toys so far for impacted families. The greatest remaining need is for $25 Visa/Mastercard gift cards (No. 1 priority because they are flexible and easy to transport), and gifts for older children and teens such as electronics, athletic equipment, books and art supplies. Also, batteries and gift bags. To learn more and find drop-off locations, visit FirstLady.ky.gov/ToyDrive.
- The Department of Insurance (DOI) has received a total of 9,145 claims as reported as of 10 a.m. EST Thursday.
- DOI response teams will be available on-site in the counties as identified below to assist:
- Graves County
Location: Old Walmart, 1102 Paris Road, Mayfield, KY
- Hopkins County
Location: First Baptist Church, 960 Industrial Park Drive, Dawson Springs, KY
- Warren County
Old Sears Store, Greenwood Shopping Mall, 2625 Scottsville Road, Bowling Green, KY
- Muhlenberg County
Bremen Park Community Center, 47 College Street, Bremen, KY
- Graves County
- The Kentucky Department of Revenue will honor the IRS special tax relief for individuals and households affected by the severe storms and tornados. This extension allows affected taxpayers until May 16, 2022, to file Kentucky income tax returns and submit tax payments for individual income tax, corporate income tax, income tax withholding and limited liability entity tax.
- President Joe Biden’s federal disaster declaration also makes Kentuckians in these impacted counties eligible for a refund of Kentucky sales and use tax paid on the purchase of building materials permanently installed in the repair or replacement of structures damaged as result of the tornados and severe storms. Applicants have three years from the date of the disaster declaration to submit their refund claims after repairs or replacement are completed and are eligible for up to $6,000 in tax relief per building.
- Kentucky Emergency Management says the National Weather Service issued 92 warnings – including for tornados, severe storms and flash flooding – during the duration of the tornado’s track.
- Kentucky Emergency Management says 3,905 people have been vetted as they register with FEMA.
- As of Thursday (12/16) morning, Kentucky State Parks were providing housing and food services for 610 displaced Kentuckians and 176 first responders.
- Thursday, Gov. Beshear announced park accommodations will be extended for displaced families. He also said park accommodations have been extended to a minimum of four weeks, up from an initial two weeks.
Members of the Mayfield-Graves County Regional Emergency Operations Center (EOC) heard from a survivor of the candle factory collapse.