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Tornado death toll rises to 77, one person still missing

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Ryan Van Velzer
/

The death toll following last weekend’s storms has reached 77, according to Gov. Andy Beshear. 

Beshear said at a press conference Friday that numbers may change pending confirmation from local coroners. A tornado in 1890 left 76 Kentuckians dead, which was the previous record.

“That includes one new fatality confirmed in Lyon Country, which brings their total to one. It included another death, reported yesterday in Warren County,” Beshear said. “And it includes the three individuals in Hopkins County that we are aware of, that haven’t yet been confirmed by that coroner.”

Beshear also announced that there is one person still reported missing, statewide, from Hopkins County. 

He said that 1,300 Kentucky National Guard members and state workers are in western Kentucky with 700 FEMA workers. The guard units in the region are shifting from search and rescue efforts to law enforcement in response to claims of looting.

“To take advantage of someone who has lost everything is beyond despicable,” Beshear said. “And if we catch you, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

Beshear called on corporations to invest in the area as communities rebuild. He asked that they consider building factories to get what were already struggling economies moving in the right direction. 

He said the state has seen an unprecedented amount of monetary donations following the storms with the Team Western Kentucky Relief Fund reaching $18.39 million as of Friday.

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