Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, choked up Monday as he confirmed that 64 people died and at least 105 people were unaccounted-for after a series of deadly tornadoes hit the Bluegrass State.
"I know like the folks in western Kentucky ... I'm not doing so well today," he said at a televised press conference.
"I was working on getting the confirmed deaths this morning and realized I was writing on the back of notes that one of my kids took from school, and here is what it is. It's notes on inertia: 'It means that an object that's in motion will stay in motion.' So we're gonna keep putting one foot in front of the other, push through this ... We're not going anywhere."
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Kentucky was hit by at least four tornadoes, and one remained grounded in Kentucky for at least 200 miles, Beshear said.
"Thousands of homes are damaged, if not entirely destroyed, and it may be weeks before we have final counts on both deaths and levels of destruction," he said.
At least 18 counties suffered damage from the tornadoes, and at least eight counties saw fatalities, the governor noted.
"As of this morning, our best count for confirmed deaths, the most accurate count we have as of this morning, are 64 Kentuckians," he said. "Remember, this is fluid, and the numbers will change."
Officials believe the final count could reach as high as 80 deaths, according to Beshear.
The number of unaccounted-for Kentuckians sits at 105 people, the governor said, and he thanked all those helping with rescue and recovery efforts.
President Joe Biden will travel to Kentucky on Wednesday to survey the damage and receive a briefing, according to the White House.
Biden will travel to Campbell County and the cities of Mayfield and Dawson Springs, the White House said.
Regarding lessons for the future that can be taken from the weekend's destruction, Beshear said it's too early to tell what changes need to be made, and he noted the raw strength of the tornadoes.
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"You can have the warnings, but ... what do you do, right?" he said. "There's no safe place when you get hit by something like this ... we may well have to live with the idea that some storms are so powerful that what we can do to protect ourselves is limited."