Valarie Honeycutt Spears

Death toll at 20 in Tornado-Ravaged Kentucky Counties

Mar 4, 2012
Faron Colins / Lexington Herald Leader

Kentucky's death toll from a wave of violent storms Friday climbed steadily on Saturday, reaching 20 fatalities with an estimated 300 injured and at least one man missing. The storms were the worst to hit the eastern part of Kentucky in almost 25 years. EF3 tornados hit Magoffin, Menifee and Morgan counties, east of Lexington, and an EF2 tornado hit Laurel County, in southeastern Kentucky, the National Weather Service said. The EF scale, which goes from 0 to 5, rates tornadoes based on wind speed. An EF3 storm has speeds of 136 mph to 165 mph. An EF2 measures 111 mph to 135 mph. An EF2 or higher is considered a significant tornado.

Gov. Steve Beshear said Sunday he will work with officials at Kentucky Speedway to address the traffic flow and parking problems that plagued Saturday's Quaker State 400. A bottleneck traffic jam at Interstate 71's Exit 57 onto Ky. 35, the road that runs past the track, left thousands stuck in traffic for six hours in many cases and ultimately too late to see the race.