Biden issues disaster declaration for Kentucky counties

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2023

KENTUCKY TODAY

President Biden has issued a major disaster declaration for 76 of Kentucky’s 120 counties, due to severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes, flooding, landslides, and mudslides on March 3 and 4.

The declaration means federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities that were damaged during that time.

The counties listed in the declaration are: Adair, Allen, Anderson, Barren, Bourbon, Breckenridge, Bullitt, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Casey, Christian, Clark, Clay, Crittenden, Cumberland, Daviess, Edmonson, Estill, Floyd, Franklin, Gallatin, Garrard, Grant, Graves, Grayson, Green, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Hart, Henry, Hopkins, Hickman, Jackson, Jessamine, Johnson, LaRue, Laurel, Lee, Lincoln, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Martin, McCracken, McLean, Meade, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Nicholas, Ohio, Owen, Owsley, Powell, Robertson, Rockcastle, Simpson, Spencer, Taylor, Todd, Trigg, Trimble, Union, Warren, Washington, Webster, Whitley, and Wolfe.

The declaration notes that federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire state.  Additional designations may be made at a later date, if requested by state officials and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

At least five people were killed, and hundreds of thousands were left without power, due to the severe weather outbreak, especially in the western and central sections of the state.

While tornadoes were reported in Christian, Henderson, McCracken and Union counties; and flash flooding occurred in some areas; the main culprits during the March 3 weather event were a line of severe thunderstorms, followed by intense winds, the like of which he said hadn’t been seen in Kentucky for years, with gusts that reached nearly 80 miles per hour.

The high winds also blew part of the roof off the terminal building at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport, striking the tower and leading to a power outage.  As a result, the airport was forced to shut down operations and 12 incoming flights were diverted to other airports.

In addition, the intense storm broke all-time low barometric pressure records at Louisville and Bowling Green.  The lowest pressure observed in Louisville was 28.85” around 3:14 pm EST (the old record was 28.93” on February 28, 1902; records go back to 1893). The lowest pressure observed in Bowling Green was 28.96” at 1:12pm CST (the old record was 29.04”, records go back to 1973).