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Taylor County man evacuates to safer location minutes before tornado levels his home

The man, who was watching WHAS 11's severe weather coverage, says he credits the station's meteorologists for saving his family.

TAYLOR COUNTY, Ky. — Crews in Taylor County continued the daunting task to pick up the pieces after Saturday's deadly EF-3 tornado leveled parts of the area.

Most roads in the county are now passable but a lot of work remains. 

Campbellsville Public Works Director Josh Pedigo said while many of the roads in the county are passable, there is still a lot of work to do. 

"Our hearts go out to everybody who lost everything," Pedigo said. 

This weekend rain is predicted, so they have to get ditches cleared to prevent flooding.

“We’re all family here," Pedigo said. "If anything goes wrong like this we want to help everybody.”

A lot of state resources are focused on areas further west, like Mayfield and Dawson Springs, which has left locals to do a lot of heavy lifting. 

While their crew is small, Pedigo said he wants to reassure everyone they’re doing all they can to clear roads and restore power.

RELATED: NWS: EF-1 to EF-3 tornadoes hit across Kentucky; Survey teams still assessing areas hit

“It’s really difficult working at night trying to haul stuff so we really have to quit at nighttime when it gets dark. But the community needs to know we’ll be back first thing when the light comes up and we’ll keep working and try to help out all we can," Pedigo said. 

Pedigo said a member of his team actually had his home leveled in the storm. 

"My distribution and water supervisor, he lives on this road," Pedigo said. "He lost his whole house."

Pedigo introduced WHAS 11's Rachel Droze to that man, who said he was watching WHAS 11's extended storm coverage on Hulu Live when he saw the meteorologists track the tornado leaving Bowling Green and heading directly to Taylor County. 

He woke his wife and kids up and drove to his mother-in-law's house because she has a basement. 

That decision likely saved their lives because when they arrived home the next day, they no longer had a home. The entire structure was scattered, some pieces were found hundreds of yards away.

Credit: WHAS
A Taylor County man texted WHAS 11's Rachel Droze Monday afternoon to pass along his thanks to the station's weather team.

"It's a very sad situation right here at Christmas time and the holidays and we're just trying to do everything we can to try to get some kind of normalcy back," Pedigo said.

Like we're seeing all across Kentucky, neighbors in Taylor County are going out of their way to help each other. 

Monday, homeowner Danny Lawson agreed to let the Campbellsville Public Works crew build a burn pile on his property so they didn't have to spend time driving dump trucks filled with tree limbs miles down the road. 

"That would be about a 20-minute drive there and back," Pedigo said. "It’s just going to help us get cleaned up faster.”

RELATED: 74 dead, 109 unaccounted for in Kentucky tornadoes: Gov. Beshear

Lawson said we have to help. "This is a bad time. These guys worked their hind ends off. They just work, work, work, work. If I can help them, I’m willing to help.”

Lawson lost his workshop in the tornado but said he's lucky because his family didn't get injured and his home stayed standing, sustaining only minimal damage.

“What we lost can be replaced," Lawson said. “I did have a beautiful gazebo up here that I built for my wife on her 18th anniversary. [The tornado] took it and I really hate that because we're coming up on our 42nd anniversary. Looks like I may be building another.”

As of Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear said the death toll in Taylor County remained at one.

To donate to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund click here.

RELATED: 'I’m drying them out trying not to cry': Tornado survivor salvage pictures, any memories after neighborhood wiped out

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