Gov. Beshear declares State of Emergency ahead of severe weather

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 4:09 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky (WSAZ) - Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency ahead of severe weather that is expected to begin Friday evening in Western Kentucky, especially the Jackson Purchase area, and has a high probability of producing long-track, violent tornadoes.

The Governor noted this is the same area devastated by the December 2021 tornadoes, and according to the National Weather Service, there is a high probability of severe tornadoes moving through this area once again up to I-65.

The rest of Kentucky, with the exception of the East, should expect violent thunderstorms followed by significant winds with wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour.

“If you are in Western Kentucky, you need to be in a safe shelter by 5 p.m. Central Time,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is the worst forecast I’ve seen as Governor. I am declaring a state of emergency so that we can be prepared. We are taking this very seriously and we need you to take this seriously, too. Please be prepared. Let’s do everything possible to keep everyone safe.”

Due to the forecast, the Governor is closing all Kentucky state office buildings located in the central time zone, today, Friday, March 31, 2023, beginning at 3 p.m. CT. This closure extends to employees who may live or work within the central time zone. Executive Branch employees should follow guidance from their agency.

The Governor also activated the state’s price gouging laws to protect families from grossly overpriced goods and services. With the state of emergency in place, consumers in the commonwealth can report price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General. Under state law, price gougers can be held accountable.

With the advanced warning, the Governor urges all Kentuckians to have a safety plan to locate in a secure place during the storms.

“Practice going there before the weather arrives. A storm shelter or a basement is the best. An interior hallway away from windows is the second best. If you are in a mobile home, get out. Be somewhere safe long before this hits. Go to a neighbor’s house, an underground shelter or a nearby permanent structure,” Gov. Beshear said. “Monitor the weather on, by watching local TV or listening to NOAA weather radio. Contact your local emergency management office if you need to find a safe place to shelter.”

Severe thunderstorms and a wind advisory are forecasted starting at 8 p.m. tonight and ending at 8 p.m. tomorrow. This windstorm will bring sustained winds up to 35 mph and gusts up to 55 mph. There is also potential for an isolated tornado.