KENTUCKY (WEHT) — Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered a state of emergency in Kentucky ahead of severe storms that are expected to hit western Kentucky Friday evening.

Beshear says that the Jackson Purchase area, which was the same area devastated by the December 2021 tornadoes, has a high probability of producing “long-track, violent tornadoes.”

The rest of Kentucky, with the exception of the east, should anticipate violent thunderstorms followed by significant winds with wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

“If you are in Western Kentucky, you need to be in a safe shelter by 5 p.m. Central Time,” says Gov. Beshear. “This is the worst forecast I’ve seen as Governor. I am declaring a state of emergency so that we can be prepared. We are taking this very seriously and we need you to take this seriously, too. Please be prepared. Let’s do everything possible to keep everyone safe.”

Beshear is also asking Kentuckians to avoid calling 911 for traffic and weather updates. The Kentucky State Police requests that if you see or suspect that someone is stranded on the roadways, contact KSP at 800-222-5555.