KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear held a Team Kentucky update on Thursday to discuss the state’s response to flooding in eastern Kentucky as well as economic development growth and the dedication of a memorial highway honoring the service of Cpl. Jacob M. Moore, a Boyd County Marine.

Eastern Kentucky flooding

The governor declared a State of Emergency due to severe flooding on Thursday. During the Team Kentucky update, the governor urged those in eastern Kentucky to remain weather-aware as additional rain is expected through the day with more possible throughout the weekend.

“This is an ongoing, natural disaster. We are in the midst of it and for some places, it is going to continue through tonight with the possibility of more rain in the days to come,” said Gov. Beshear. “We urge everyone to continue to take precautions to keep yourself and others safe.”

During the update, the governor confirmed the deaths of three Kentuckians, but said the fatalities are expected to rise into the double-digits. Beshear later confirmed on Thursday that the death toll rose to at least 8.

The governor launched the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund for families impacted by the historic flooding. For more information, click here.

Team Kentucky All-Star

Governor Beshear named everyone working to help aid the counties affected by flash flooding as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. He thanked Emergency Medical Services, paramedics and firefighters; Kentucky State Police; Local police and emergency responders; Kentucky National Guard members; Community support providers; Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife staff; Kentucky Division of Emergency Management staff; Kentucky Transportation Cabinet staff and anyone working to help.

“Kentuckians are good, strong people. We are always there for one another. Right now, we have people putting themselves in harm’s way to help other people.” Gov. Beshear said. “If you are out there helping your fellow human being right now, you are a Team Kentucky All-Star. We appreciate you, we love you and we need you.”

Highway sign dedication

Governor Beshear, along with state and local officials joined the American Legion in Boyd County on Monday to dedicate the “Corporal Jacob M. Moore, USMC Memorial Highway” and honor the life of the local Marine and service to our country. Moore, 24, of Catlettsburg, died March 19 in a military aircraft crash while on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps in Norway.

Economic development update

The governor highlighted five economic development projects on Thursday that are investing $655 million in the commonwealth and expected to create 496 jobs.

Governor Beshear announced Hydro Aluminum Metals USA LLC, a producer of recycled aluminum products, will invest $15 million and retain up to 56 full-time employees at its Henderson Plant. Hydro’s investment will support two projects simultaneously, including the installation of a new homogenization furnace to improve the facility’s ability to meet specifications within the growing U.S. automotive market.

The governor also announced Beam Suntory will expand the capacity of Jim Beam Brands Co. with a $400 million investment that is expected to create 50 full-time jobs at the Booker Noe Distillery in Boston. Governor Beshear also announced continued growth of the commonwealth’s manufacturing sector as O-I Glass Inc. will invest $239 million toward a new glass bottle manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, creating 140 jobs for Kentucky residents.

On Wednesday, Governor joined officials from Louisville and Purem by Eberspaecher representatives to celebrate the opening of the automotive supplier’s Louisville operation, which is expected to create close to 250 jobs and will serve as the company’s seventh site in the United States.

Governor Beshear also announced a $500,000 state grant, paired with a local match from the Berea Industrial Development Authority to provide $1 million in upgrades at the Mayde Road Industrial Park in Madison County.