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Beshear declares state of emergency as New Year’s Day storms leave damage across Kentucky

A damaged roof on a building in Hopkinsville, Ky. following New Years Day storms.
Ethan Bailey, via Twitter
A damaged roof on a building in Hopkinsville, Ky. following New Years Day storms.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency after severe weather moved through Kentucky on New Year’s Day.

"Parts of Western and Eastern Kentucky are experiencing widespread flooding, with a reported tornado in Hopkinsville and multiple warnings and watches across the South Central and Western region," Beshear wrote in a tweet Saturday afternoon.

He cautioned people to stay safe and seek shelter when directed.

Flash flooding was reported in Green, Barren, Taylor, Adair, Owsley, Breathitt and Casey counties which resulted in water rescues and road closures.

Some residents reported that a tornado touched down in Hopkinsville. As of Saturday afternoon, those reports were not confirmed by state officials. 

Social media photos showed structural damage to buildings and downed power or telephone lines.

Sergeant Samantha Rodriguez with the Hopkinsville police department said that most of the damage came through the downtown area.

“I think there was a gas station, a family dollar and no one was inside of those businesses at the time it occurred. And at this time we have no reports of injuries,” Rodriguez said.

When it comes to clean-up efforts, Rodriguez said that right now they are focusing on getting trees and debris cleared from closed streets to open travel access. 

Taylor County residents also reported a tornado and damage to homes. 

Several severe weather advisories – including tornado watches and warnings –  remain in effect across the state.

Residents can find information about advisories in their area through the National Weather Service website

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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