FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear has gotten the backing of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation in his effort to have President Joe Biden issue a major disaster declaration for the state, due to February’s snow and ice.
All six of Kentucky’s members of the House of Representatives signed the letter to the president, as well as U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell. The only member of the delegation whose signature was not on it was U S. Senator Rand Paul. However, his office had already sent its own letter to President Biden supporting the action.
Three storms impacted Kentucky from Feb. 8 - 19, prompting the governor on Feb. 11 to issue a state of emergency order. Fifty-nine counties and 38 cities likewise issued local states of emergency.
The systems produced heavy rain, hail, sleet, freezing rain, ice and bitter arctic air which caused impassable roadways, massive power outages, water system failures, landslides, mudslides and disruption of critical government services.
The ice storm alone left 154,500 Kentucky homes without power at the height of the event. There were six confirmed deaths attributed to the weather system. The Kentucky National Guard was activated with 90 personnel assisting with the clearing of roadways, evacuating at-risk citizens and conducting wellness checks.
With families displaced by the recent storms, and limited state and local resources to repair and rebuild every community, the delegation expressed the dire need for prompt approval of federal aid.
“Unfortunately, six deaths have been confirmed due to the weather and road conditions across the Commonwealth,” they said in the letter. “The citizens of Kentucky need federal resources to respond to these damaging events. For this reason, we urge you to also approve requests for assistance for those Kentuckians hit hardest by these weather disasters. Access to this critical federal assistance will help expedite the disaster relief efforts occurring across the Commonwealth.”
They also noted that as a result of severe flooding only days later, Governor Beshear declared a second State of Emergency on March 1, 2021 and activated the Kentucky National Guard to assist with emergency rescues and other local needs. A second federal disaster declaration request will be required to activate federal assistance for the flooding damages.
Gov. Beshear said last week that FEMA representatives arrived in Kentucky to conduct a separate damage assessment due to the flooding.