FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56) — A state of emergency was declared in Kentucky Friday afternoon before severe storms, including dangerous thunderstorms and damaging winds, are expected to hit Friday night into Saturday morning.

“This is the worst forecast I’ve seen as Governor. I am declaring a state of emergency so that we can be prepared. We are taking this very seriously, and we need you to take this seriously too. Please be prepared. Let’s do everything possible to keep everyone safe,” Beshear said.

Gov. Andy Beshear asked those in western Kentucky, especially those in the Jackson Purchase area, to be in a safe shelter by 5 p.m. CDT.

“This is not a drill. If you are in Western Kentucky, you need to make plans to be in a safe, secure place by 6 p.m. EDT/ 5 p.m. CDT,” Beshear said.

This is the same area that was hit by tornadoes in December 2021, the governor noted.

The Kentucky National Guard announced that 200 National Guardsmen have been deployed to local armories in western Kentucky and are on standby ready to assist local authorities in responding to weather-related incidents.

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Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton also noted the potential for severe storms in the Lexington area and encouraged all to be weather aware.

Gorton said Division of Emergency Management Director Pat Dugger will open the city’s Emergency Operations Center at 8:30 p.m. Friday with critical staff.

“We are being cautious and paying attention to our weather forecasters,” Gorton said. “Opening the EOC puts all of our emergency preparedness people on notice, and prepares us to get ready in case there is an emergency.”

Lexington Emergency Management also shared tips for staying safe and preparing for power outages and other weather-related emergencies. This includes knowing where to go to shelter from tornadoes and understanding the severe thunderstorm risk categories.

“Check your plan. Update your emergency kit,” said Lexington Emergency Management.

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