Just three days after a warm, turbulent, deadly Friday night in Kentucky, snow complicated tornado recovery efforts Monday in hard hit towns. In West Liberty, where the downtown was decimated, salvage, clean up and the beginning of the rebuilding the infrastructure continued despite the snow.
According to the Public Service Commission there are 5,652 outages as of late Monday afternoon across the state, where 22 people were killed in five counties because of Friday’s tornadoes. The numbers do not include outages in areas served by municipal utilities or cooperatives in the Tennessee Valley system.
Power crews blanketed downtown West Liberty Monday and linemen began stringing lines that will make up the rebuilt power grid. There are 1,247 customers without power. Restorations are estimated to be completed by Friday or Saturday.
Among the beehive of activity on the main drag in West Liberty, Linda Oakley paused to hug a friend and talk about the help that’s poured into town and the hope she has for her community to recover. Oakley worked at a flower shop which was destroyed.
"People in this area get up and they put their tool pouches on and they go and do what needs to be done and we're going to do that , we're going to do that, to do what needs to be done,” Oakley said.
Oakley said the building may be gone but the town is not. After she and her husband salvaged a few items from the flower shop, she grabbed a bundle of roses that were still in the shop and began walking up and down the street handing out flowers to the workers, thanking them for their help.