Kentucky’s ‘Worst Storm on Record’ Prompts Disaster Declaration Request

September 23, 2008

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear requested a presidential disaster declaration to help recover costs for public damages suffered in some 70 counties and cities across the commonwealth.

As of Sept. 19, Beshear said 29 counties and more than 41 towns and cities had declared a state of emergency following a Sept. 14 windstorm that carried hurricane-force winds across much of Kentucky. At its worst, more than 500,000 Kentuckians were without power this week and some 3,000 people at one time lacked clean drinking water.

The event represents the worst storm on record in Kentucky, Beshear said. The number of people without power has been cut by more than half since Sept. 14 although some 135,305 customers still lacked power as of Sept. 19.

Beshear said the federal disaster declaration, if granted, will allow reimbursement for up to 75 percent of the costs expended for debris removal, emergency protective measures and repairs of other public infrastructure damaged during the storm. The federal government requires a threshold of $5 million in public damages to qualify for the declaration. State and local governments must each fund 12.5 percent of the costs incurred.

In Louisville, 200 National Guardsmen were deployed to supplement security and cleanup efforts in the state’s largest city. Shelters were opened in three counties and backup generators were provided to communities where water supply issues emerged.

Source: Office of the Governor of Kentucky

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