- Associated Press - Thursday, July 7, 2016

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin declared a statewide emergency Thursday following flooding in parts of western Kentucky that left thousands of residents without power.

Bevin’s office said in a news release that the declaration will give emergency workers help as they respond to local needs. He urged residents to take precautions needed to be safe.

Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said some areas of western Kentucky have had more than 15 inches of rain.

“This event is happening in conjunction with high temperatures across the Commonwealth, creating further concern for local first responders who are assisting displaced residents,” Dossett said in the release. “We are reminding all citizens to be mindful of severe weather notifications through local, state and National Weather Service channels, being prepared to take immediate action if directed to do so.”

Heavy rains and harsh winds blew through the area Wednesday, knocking down power lines and damaging buildings in the far western part of the state, including Paducah.

Media report that a small tornado hit in Metropolis, Illinois, as winds gusted up to 105 miles per hour. No life-threatening injuries were reported.

More than an inch of rain fell in the Paducah area while about three-quarters of an inch fell in Mayfield and Murray, flooding some roadways.

West Kentucky Rural Electric reported about 1,600 customers without power Thursday afternoon, while about 2,700 Jackson Purchase Energy customers had no power.

Severe weather in Paducah could return as there is a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms through Saturday.

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