One Year Later: Gov. Beshear recalls deadly tornado outbreak in Western Kentucky

Devastating tornadoes ravaged areas of Western Kentucky on December 10, 2021, killing 81
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The evening of December 10, 2021 is one that not only Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear — but the entire state — will never forget.

“It was hard. Really hard,” recalls Beshear. “Chaos and trauma would just seep into your pores as you stood somewhere that you knew you’d been before, but as you turned around, you didn’t recognize anything. It was almost disorienting.”

Several tornadoes swept through parts of Western Kentucky — killing 81 people, destroying hundreds of homes and damaging more than a thousand. According to FEMA, the giant trail of destruction caused more than $305 million in damage.
“Just trying to understand an F4 tornado that stayed on the ground 200 miles — just in Kentucky. It was something we’d never seen before,” says Beshear. “And then at first light, outside the candle factory in Mayfield and then in the middle of town, then over to Dawson [Springs] and Bowling Green. It was just devastation like none of us had ever seen before.”
This weekend, Governor Beshear plans to revisit areas heavily impacted by last year’s tornadoes — areas he’s traveled to more than 40 times since storms ravaged Western Kentucky.
One year later, many are still without a home. Thousands are still waiting for — or have been denied — federal assistance.
“We love them. They’ve been through a lot,” says Beshear when asked what his message is to Kentuckians still in search of relief. “I understand if they’re impatient. I would be, too. That’s your home that you’ve lost.”
However, Beshear says help is on the way and — in many cases — it’s already there in some of the hardest hit communities.
“We’ve announced 480 new jobs in Graves County. In the last seven or so months, we announced 200 jobs in Muhlenberg County where Bremen is and, just yesterday, and we announced the largest investment, the history of Western Kentucky: $1 billion and 400 new jobs 26 miles from Dawson Springs. That means my dad’s hometown isn’t just gonna survive. They’re gonna thrive.”
Much-needed relief for a community still picking up the pieces, and searching for answers and understanding — one year later.
“I’d say if people out there lose faith in humanity, they ought to just watch how people respond after one of these natural disasters,” says Beshear of the resiliency of Kentuckians after the deadly tornadoes that ravaged Western Kentucky and the devastating floods that destroyed areas in Eastern Kentucky in July. “
“I still wish I could understand why they hit, why we get hit. But you see a lot of God in the response.”
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