U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks Thursday regarding the severe storms that hit Kentucky on Wednesday:
"I wish to say a few words about the severe storms and tornadoes that cut through parts of the Midwest yesterday, including in my home State of Kentucky. People across the Bluegrass State are still recovering this morning from the considerable damage caused by the severe weather.
"The National Weather Service has confirmed four tornadoes struck in Kentucky with winds of up to 125 miles per hour. These funnel clouds were sighted in Elizabethtown, eastern Grayson County, Larue County, and near downtown Hodgenville, which is home to the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park.
"In all, the National Weather Service has confirmed at least 16 tornadoes across the country through seven States--Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana, and Kentucky. Over 300 reports of severe weather across the region describe frightening details such as wind gusts of over 80 miles per hour, and golf-ball sized hail storms.
"There were reports of power outages for thousands of people across Kentucky, particularly in my hometown of Louisville, the towns of Elizabethtown and Paducah, and in Muhlenberg and Grayson counties. Downed power lines and flash flooding were reported across the State.
"News reports and accounts from my own staff tell me that there has been considerable damage across Kentucky, including dozens of homes and businesses damaged and several people injured. Two people in McCracken County near Paducah were rescued from an overturned mobile home and rushed to the hospital in critical condition. From what we know at this point, however, thankfully it appears no lives were lost in Kentucky.
"Unfortunately, the same cannot be said elsewhere, as the severe weather that raged through six other States has reportedly claimed at least 12 lives. I join my colleagues from the affected States in keeping in my thoughts today all those affected by these storms, especially the families of those lost in these tragic and unforeseeable circumstances.
"I also want to extend my gratitude to the first responders in Kentucky and across the entire Midwest who have risen to the occasion and provided the much-needed response and relief. Let me particularly thank the Kentucky National Guard, who is there to assist, as always, when disaster strikes.
"Authorities are warning us that the threat from severe weather is not over. More storms are expected today in Alabama, Tennessee and again in my home State of Kentucky.
"We will continue to keep a close eye on Kentucky and other States in the affected region, and make sure people have everything they need to clean up, rebuild, and reclaim their dignity from the wreckage of this tragedy."