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Rain headed to western Kentucky, complicating tornado cleanup

Ryland Barton

Western Kentucky is expecting rain and thunderstorms over the coming days, stymying cleanup and recovery efforts in the region ravaged by tornadoes last weekend.

Crews in the area are urgently trying to place tarps on homes that have roof damage and board up windows where needed.

According to theNational Weather Service, the area will get between 1.5 and 3 inches of rain by Saturday morning.

Meanwhile hundreds of workers and volunteers are still working to clear debris left in roadways and neighborhoods across a wide swath of the state affected by the catastrophic storms.

Britney Hargrove, the public information officer for Marshall County, said workers are to prevent wreckage from washing into roadways.

“Road departments from all over the place are actually in the area by Cambridge Shores today going through, trying to collect as much of that debris from the right of way, load the trucks and get it out of there now before we get so much of this rainfall,” Hargrove said.

Cambridge Shores is a neighborhood in Marshall County that was mowed over by the tornado system last week.

Hargrove said people should “tarp what you can, tarp to try to keep things as dry as possible.”

“When this kind of passes through, we can hit it hard again and hopefully people are able to get tarps up today and prepare for this rain before it really hits,” Hargrove said.

At least 3,280 homes are still without power across the region, and 2,000 of those won’t have utilities restored “for weeks.” More than 18,000 homes are under boil water advisories.

Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said the additional rain is “problematic.”

“It’s not what we want,” Dossett said.

In a statement from the Mayfield-Graves County Regional Emergency Operations Center, officials said efforts to clear roads and sidewalks “is about 90 percent complete” and asked people to not push limbs or debris to the edge of paved roads.

“Crews will push the debris back onto private property to assure that fire trucks and other emergency vehicles will have access throughout Mayfield and Graves County,” officials stated.

“There will be an opportunity at a later date for FEMA approved debris disposal efforts.”

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. Always looking to put a face to big issues,Ryland'sreporting has taken him to drought-weary towns in West Texas and relocated communities in rural China. He's covered breaking news like the 2014 shooting at Fort Hood Army Base and the aftermath of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
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