Here are ways to connect with organizations to help families in Kentucky impacted by tornadoes

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Governor Greg Abbott announced he has authorized the deployment of Texas A&M Task Force 1 to assist the people of western Kentucky following the deadly tornadoes that shook their state overnight.



Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said upwards of 70 may have died when a twister touched down for more than 200 miles in his state, but the number of deaths could exceed 100 across 10 or more counties. Beshear declared a state of emergency and has already submitted a request for a federal emergency declaration.

"This has been the most devastating tornado event in our state's history," Beshear said at a news conference.

At the request of FEMA, Abbott approved for 10 of the task force personnel to deploy the Central Incident Support Team cache, which is part of FEMA's Urban Search and Rescue System.

The storms hit a candle factory in Kentucky, an Amazon facility in Illinois and a nursing home in Arkansas. Officials had confirmed 29 deaths, including 22 in three Kentucky counties. Beshear said about 110 people were in the Mayfield factory when the tornado roared through.

"This cache of equipment will provide specialized technical gear and command, control, and communication requirement to members of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue teams that are being deployed from around the nation to help those in need," a statement from Abbott read.

Abbott went on to ask folks to join him and his wife in praying for all those affected.

SEE MORE: Death toll could exceed 100 following tornadoes, severe weather: Kentucky governor

In a tweet, the American Red Cross is asking for people in areas that were not impacted by the tornados to donate blood to replenish their supply. The nonprofit wrote that it has provided more than 160 additional blood products to the hospitals in need.



Matthew Marchetti, the executive director of Crowdsource Rescue, said the Houston-based organization works with search and rescue teams across the country. Crowdsource Rescue currently has four crews from three states. Crews with StormPoint and GeauxRescue have also been dispatched to the areas hit by severe weather.

"We, in the Houston area, have faced very major storms," Marchetti said. "However, we know they are coming ahead of time. Days in advance, versus this, you know, you have minutes and then all of a sudden entire towns are blown away. They are going to need our help for weeks and years to come and we should listen to what they are asking (for)."

Marchetti said if you have a family member in an impacted area and need their teams to check on them, you can submit a request online.

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