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Beshear declares state of emergency in Kentucky amid severe weather predictions

A graphic image predicts severe weather across Kentucky.
National Weather Service, Louisville
Western Kentucky is predicted to see the most severe weather in the storm.

Gov. Andy Beshear has declared a state of emergency amid severe storm warnings that could produce "long-track, violent tornadoes" in the western part of the state.

The Louisville area is expected to see high winds starting around 8 p.m. Friday. Jefferson County is under a high wind advisory until 5 p.m. Saturday.

The most severe risk is in the western part of the state. The Jackson Purchase Area is in “significant danger” for severe weather, including possible tornadoes, on Friday night. Meteorologists advised Beshear it is “probable that we would see long-track violent tornadoes” in western Kentucky Friday.

Western Kentucky, including communities in the Jackson Purchase Area, was devastated by a deadly tornado outbreak in December 2021. Beshear warned this area could be hit by a severe weather outbreak yet again.

“This is an area that was hit in December of 2021 by the unimaginable and there is far too high of a probability we will see that again tonight,” Beshear said in a press briefing Friday morning.

While the threat of tornadoes is greatest in western Kentucky, Beshear said most of the state should expect violent thunderstorms later in the day, with strong wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour.

Beshear advised residents to start making shelter plans for possible tornadoes in western Kentucky.

“If you don't have a basement, if you don't have a safe room within your house, make plans now to be somewhere else tonight,” Beshear said.

According to the National Weather Service office in Paducah, much of far western Kentucky, including the Jackson Purchase Area, is under a “moderate risk” for severe weather, meaning widespread severe storms are likely.

The National Weather Service said a severe weather outbreak Friday afternoon into Friday evening is “increasingly likely” in portions of the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. This outbreak is predicted to stretch from parts of Louisiana into Indiana and to weaken as it moves eastward.

Up-to-date information can be found on the National Weather Service website.

Rebecca Feldhaus Adams contributed to this report.

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