There have been twenty-one confirmed deaths in Kentucky after tornadoes tore through the state on Friday. Seven of those deaths were in Morgan County, where the county seat, West Liberty, was leveled by the storms. Louisville resident Alex Wright is a doctor with Norton Healthcare Systems. West Liberty is his hometown, and his extended family still lives there. He headed to the town Saturday morning to see how he could help, and described the scene he saw driving through downtown to Kentucky Public Radio’s Erica Peterson.
The US 60/62 Mississippi River Bridge at Cairo will reopen tomorrow after being shut down for over a year. Officials say the bridge was closed to repair a deteriorated floor beam system damaged by an excessive number of overweight trucks crossing the span. The Illinois Department of Transportation says the bridge will reopen to all vehicles with a maximum gross weight of 40 tons and a maximum axle weight of 10 tons.
Kentuckians are just beginning the gauge the economic cost of the weekend’s disaster. A more complete picture will become apparent once damage assessments are complete. However, there are economic trends that follow a tornado. For example, economist Kevin Timmons says full recovery is likely. In fact, Timmons says some communities re-invent themselves after devastating weather. He spoke with reporter Charles Compton.
Kevin Timmons is a professor of economics at Austin College in Texas. He’s co-author of “The Economic and Societal Impact of Tornadoes” and “Deadly Season.”
Since 2006, White Nose Syndrome has been decimating bat populations east of the Mississippi. Last month, the disease was found in Breckinridge County, Kentucky, and biologists expect it to spread further. Kentucky Public Radio’s Erica Peterson went with state researchers into a Meade County cave to see what’s being done to stop White Nose Syndrome.
Damage Reports are coming in following a line of storms in far western Kentucky that continue to move east through our region. Police in Crittenden County say there have been a few reports of trees down across a few roads, but nothing severe at this point. There is a storm shelter open at the Crittenden County Courthouse. In Hopkins County officials say they’ve had no reports of damage thus far. A shelter is open at that courthouse as well. Officials in Ballard County say strong winds ripped the roof off of a trailer in LaCentre. And there are also some reports of trees down..
Severe weather headed to our region again tonight will likely arrive in two in two waves. Forecasters say the first one will arrive late tonight and will probably produce hail and damaging winds the second one will arrive late Friday morning and possibly result in tornadoes and more hail. National Weather Service Paducah Forecaster Jim Packett says the storms tomorrow could hold off until later, though.