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Kentucky lawmaker describes tornado damage; official details state park lodging effort

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Posted at 5:49 PM, Dec 16, 2021

(LEX 18) — As the sun came up Saturday morning, Sen. Whitney Westerfield and a friend flew a drone over Mayfield, capturing some of the first aerial images of the devastation.

Westerfield — who serves Logan, Christian and Todd counties — said this week that he needed to see the damage for himself, and he wanted people to know how severe the damage from the weekend tornados was.

The storm left many in Dawson Springs and other affected areas homeless.

"What looks to be a majority of people's homes in all of Dawson Springs are just destroyed, just wiped from the earth," Westerfield said.

With so many across the state without a place to stay, Kentucky’s state parks are opening their lodges and cabins to offer shelter to those in need.

Mike Berry, secretary of the state’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, says the cabinet has “de-winterized” seven state parks in the Western Kentucky region to house tornado victims, first responders, and other aid workers.

“As of this morning we were providing not only housing but meals at these parks to 610 distressed guests and 176 first responders who are helping,” Berry said.

Many families are staying in the state park’s lodgings.

“At Lake Barkley state park there alone we have 88 children,” Berry said.

The parks being used are:

  • Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park 
  • Kenlake State Resort Park
  • Lake Barkley State Resort Park
  • Barren River Lake State Park
  • John James Audobon State Park
  • Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park
  • Rough River Dam State Resort Park

The state park operation is in need of volunteers to help with things like food service, housekeeping, supply distribution, and maintenance. Those interested in volunteering can email andy.kasitz@ky.gov.