Tornado relief efforts for Graves County

(Source: Ohio Valley Aerial)
(Source: Ohio Valley Aerial)

GRAVES COUNTY, Ky. (KBSI) – The Regional Emergency Operations Center at Mayfield is coordinating a multi-agency response to the catastrophic tornado that caused major damage in Mayfield/Graves County and areas of Marshall County.

The EOC continues to refine contact numbers and drop-off locations for donations and points of contact for families in need of assistance.

All information about ongoing efforts coordinated by the EOC will be posted at the Graves County Office of Emergency Management Facebook page.

Fulton County Status Report
Fulton County Emergency Management reports the county fared better than Mayfield/Graves County. However, they still have some substantial issues. Fulton County had one fatality, has 23 homes that are a total loss, and three businesses lost. The Cayce Fire Department headquarters and much of their equipment were wiped out by the tornado. At this time, the county has limited sporadic cell service using a temporary tower and most internet services are down. The community is overwhelmed with the generosity of the many who have sent supplies and equipment their way.

Supply Distribution Locations
Distribution points for water, food and other supplies have been established. These Point of Distribution (POD) locations will offer pick-up for basic materials to supply families and individuals with enough food and water for approximately three days. Each family will then rotate through to receive another three-day supply. PODs will be open 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CST. Individuals who are picking up supplies should exercise patience and use caution for their safety and the safety of workers. Donations of supplies will not be accepted at these POD locations.

  • Graves County Fairgrounds (Drive-Through Only)
    • Items Available: Food, water, baby supplies and cleaning supplies.
    • 101 Housman Street Mayfield, KY
  • Mayfield High School (Drive-Through Only)
    • Items Available: Food, water, baby supplies and cleaning supplies.
    • 700 Douthitt Street Mayfield, KY
  • High Point Baptist Church
  • Items Available: Food and water.
  • 220 Farthing Street (9th & Farthing)

No Burning in the City of Mayfield
A Mayfield city ordinance prohibits the burning of debris. No burn permits will be issued. There is concern about the possibility of asbestos and other hazardous materials intermingled with limbs and other debris. Any debris fires will be immediately extinguished, and the owner cited for illegal burning. All debris should be hauled to the landfill.

Welfare Checks
Crews have completed initial welfare checks on people in their homes but have no power along the tornado corridor. Crews will now engage in secondary welfare checks. These crews will have water and some food supplies for distribution. By this time, any food stored in refrigerators that are without power should be considered unsafe for consumption.

Food and Supply Drop-off Locations
A food, supply, and cash donation drop-off has been established at Heartland Worship Center off I-24 Exit 7 in Paducah.

Mayfield-Graves County Tornado Relief Fund
An account to handle cash donations has been set up through Independence Bank. Donations may be directed to the fund via Independence Bank, P.O. Box 9, Fancy Farm, Kentucky 42034 or you can fill out a Google Forms document at An electronic donation system will be organized as soon as possible. This account will be used to assist individuals in the tornado corridor.

Volunteer Coordination – West KY Area
At this time, the response effort has sufficient volunteers. However, there will be a need for volunteers in the coming weeks as the recovery advances. Volunteers should be part of an organized group with a specific mission in mind. In the coming weeks, volunteers will be needed to assist individual home and business owners with clean-up efforts. Groups from the local area who are organizing volunteers to assist with clean-up efforts in coming weeks should call the Tornado Volunteer Hotline at 270-216-0903 or email their information to Please include the number of volunteers in your group, types of assistance you can provide, and times your group can be available. You can also go to the following webpage to sign up:\c\viuf4h7p

Volunteers- Medical
There is a need for a shelter directed at individuals with medical needs. A location for this site is under development. Volunteers with medical skills may call 270-804-1742 to contact the health department for info.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) District 1 crews from Ballard, McCracken, Crittenden and Livingston counties are on-site assisting the Graves County Highway Maintenance Crew with efforts to clear as many city streets and county roads as possible. The county road departments from Graves County and Ballard County are also providing personnel and equipment. This project is about 70 percent complete. Since Sunday, more than 1,000 loads of material have been removed totaling more than 12,000 cubic yards of material. U.S. 45 is cleared in both directions North of KY 58/KY 80/Broadway. Initially, crews are only removing material along the roadway and sidewalks. Efforts are now focused on clearing streets to facilitate a damage assessment survey. Streets, where crews are working, will be closed to all traffic as required. Drivers should avoid traveling downtown unless they are directly involved in recovery efforts. This operation is for street clearing only. Efforts to remove debris from private property to FEMA standards will be organized at a later date.

Photo Documentation for Insurance and FEMA
Prior to removing any debris from their property, residents and property owners with tornado damage should take photos to have for insurance documentation. These photos will also assist community leaders as they seek disaster assistance from FEMA and other agencies.

Traffic Signals

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 1 Signal Crew is making some progress getting traffic signals back into service. The afternoon of Wednesday, Dec. 15, the traffic signal at the intersection of U.S. 45 and KY 121 in Mayfield came back on line with power from a generator. This will improve traffic flow at this busy intersection.

Several other signals are back in service where normal power sources have been restored. However, there are still locations where signals are dark. Most notably, at the KY 121 Bypass/KY 58 intersection on Mayfield’s east side. This signal sustained substantial damage and will have to be reconstructed. When possible, during the day there will be a National Guard Military Police Officer, a local police officer, or a flagger controlling traffic through this intersection. The rest of the time it will function as a 4-Way Stop.

Drivers are asked to be patient and use appropriate caution when they encounter a temporary 4-Way Stop where a signal is out of service.

Drivers are again reminded to avoid unnecessary travel in the tornado recovery zone. The only vehicles entering downtown Mayfield should be vehicles involved in direct storm recovery efforts.

There is a 7 p.m., to 7 a.m., CST, curfew in Mayfield until further notice.

Family Unification
His House Church is establishing a center to assist those with missing family members. The center will collect basic information to be shared with police agencies attempting to more accurately determine the number of missing. His House Church is located at 1250 KY Hwy 303/Cuba Road, Mayfield, KY.

Electric Utilities
West KY RECC reports a substantial amount of their service area has power restored to substations. However, more than 150 utility poles are damaged or destroyed. Customers may check the WKRECC Facebook page for more info. WKRECC has 25 mutual-aid crews on-site to assist with restoring power – an effort that could take a week or more to complete. Each crew will be escorted by a local utility representative. Rebuilding the electric system from substations out to individual customers will take time.

Water Utilities
The City of Mayfield is under a boil water order that will likely last at least a week or more. With use of generators to operate pumps, the city is producing water at a trickle rate to provide flow for basic use. Residents are urged to conserve water until normal water production capacity is restored. The boil order will remain in place until appropriate water production and pressure can be restored. Water pressure has recovered to allow firefighting services for the city, if needed. Please notify the water department of any broken water lines or leaks. When moving debris, please keep water meters and hydrants clear. Water meters should also remain covered to prevent freezing during cold weather.

Fifty National Guard members are on-site to assist law enforcement with security. More are expected to arrive on Monday. There is a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for Mayfield and parts of Graves County impacted by the tornado. Police will aggressively enforce this curfew. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife has provided 19 additional officers to support local law enforcement activities.

Security Concern
Law enforcement has fielded calls about a group of men claiming to be firefighters out checking on citizens who are breaking into homes. Police have a description of vehicles involved and are actively on the lookout for these individuals. Homeowners are advised to ask for identification when they are approached by people claiming to be working in an official capacity and report suspicious activity to police.

Medical Services
Jackson Purchase Medical Center is at capacity. Additional ambulances will be stationed at the hospital to assist with patient transfers should the need arise.

Special Note on Use of Generators
Homeowners using generators should be aware of the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep generators away from windows and doors. Use caution when fueling to avoid the opportunity for fire. Use caution to prevent generators from back feeding along power lines. Homeowners should also be aware of the hazards associated with the use of an unvented space heaters and other alternate heat sources that can create hazardous conditions or cause fire. Please use extra caution.

Hazardous Materials
If you encounter hazardous waste materials during clean-up efforts call the Tornado Recovery Hotline at 270-727-5114. There are some canisters of hazardous materials that were carried off by the tornado. Homeowners should be alert for these containers intermingled with limbs and other debris.

Additional Assistance
Counseling teams will be available for families of victims and those who are in need of trauma counseling due to their experiences during the tornado. A mechanism for contacting the teams is being developed.

Medication and Package Deliveries
Fed Ex and UPS have deliveries of medication and other packages that would normally go to addresses within the damage corridor. They have moved their pick-up location to a lot next to the Linwood Chevrolet dealership on U.S. 45 just north of the Interstate 69 Mayfield Exit 25 Interchange. Fed Ex and UPS will notify the intended recipient through their electronic notification system as packages arrive on-site.

Medical Assistance/Medications
Kentucky Care has established a location in front of Lowes on Paris Road in cooperation with Gibson Pharmacy to assist those who lost medications to the tornado. There is also assistance for those who lost eyeglasses and need them replaced. The eyeglass team is expected on-site today. A mobile medical clinic is also expected at this site on Wednesday to meet basic medical needs.

Senior Citizens with Health Issues in Tornado Zone
Senior Citizens who have health issues and live in the tornado corridor or are without power may be eligible to temporarily stay in a nursing home until services are restored to their home. This is for senior citizens on Medicare or Medicaid.

Mayfield City Government Pubic Meetings
By authority of Mayor Kathy O’Nan, all Mayfield City Government meetings are canceled until further notice.

Temporary Flight Restrictions
Mayfield has been issued temporary aircraft flight restrictions, along with other communities with storm impact. Pilots should contact the FAA for details.

Mail Service
The U.S. Postal Service has suspended operations at the Mayfield Post Office until further notice where a portion of the roof was taken off by the tornado. Mail to post office boxes will be temporarily transferred to the main Paducah Post Office at 300 South 4th Street, where pick-up is available during regular service hours. The Postal Service will attempt to set up a mail pickup point in Mayfield as soon as possible.

FEMA Applications
The fastest way for individuals to apply for FEMA disaster assistance is through the link below. You can also apply by calling 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585) or though the FEMA mobile app or

Laundry Services
The Tide Loads of Hope Laundry service is open in the Mayfield Wal-Mart parking lot from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Bring your load of laundry and they will wash, dry, and fold it for you.

Graves County Schools are serving meals. Breakfast (7-9 a.m.) and Lunch (11 a.m.-1 p.m.)

  • Fancy Farm Elementary (270 State Route 339 South, Fancy Farm, KY 42039)
  • Sedalia Elementary (5252 State Route 97, Mayfield, KY 42066)
  • Symsonia Elementary (11730 State Route 131, Symsonia, KY 42082)
  • Wingo Elementary (449 Lebanon Street, Wingo, KY 42088)
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at His House Ministries (1250 KY-303, Mayfield, KY 42066)

Pet Rescue
The Humane Society of the United States Animal Rescue and Response Team is searching for and rescuing pets. At this time, 50 animals have been rescued. They are stationed at the Mayfield-Graves Animal Shelter (500 N 12th St, Mayfield, KY 42066).

Shelters are open as indicated below. Some families have started transitioning to rooms at area state parks where rooms will be available for the next two weeks. There is concern about families who are outside of the tornado path who are staying in their homes who do not have electricity or an alternate heat source but may need assistance with food and other items.

The Red Cross has assisted with establishing shelters at the following locations:

  • First United Methodist Church
    • 100 Church St. Hickman, KY 42050
    • Contact: Justin Jackson 270-254-0261
  • Wingo Old Cumberland Presbyterian Church
    • 334 Lebanon St, Wingo, KY 42088
    • Contact: Pastor RB Mays 270-983-0333
  • The Way Center
    • 449 Lebanon Street, Wingo, KY, 42088
    • Contact: Pastor Ike Murphy 270-564-0699
  • Lone Oak First Baptist Church Shelter Converted to Housing for Workers
    • 3601 Lone Oak Road, Paducah, KY 42003
    • Contact: Pastor Hank Garner 704-699-3473

The EOC has identified a need for a shelter with support for those with medical needs. Efforts to meet this need are ongoing.

These shelters will also feed families impacted by the storm.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Kentucky State Police are assisting the Regional EOC by providing communication services.


The Cape Girardeau Public School District is holding a donation drive for school supplies and non-perishable food items to send to Kentucky schools to they can serve their communities in the new year. Donations are accepted from Dec. 16-31 at the Cape Central Middle Schools from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Drop items by the door of the main entrance which is where the parking lot is located.

Auto Credit of Southern Illinois is collecting items for the recent Tornado Victims in Kentucky at all three of its locations. Hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Marion, Illinois
1100 West DeYoung Street

Benton, Illinois
1629 North Main

Mt Vernon, Illinois
3112 W Broadway

Notre Dame Regional High School in Cape Girardeau will donate a portion of the proceeds from gate admissions and donations collected to the Catholic Diocese of Owensboro to help with tornado recovery.

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