National Weather Service assesses western Kentucky storm damage

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The National Weather Service surveyed storm damage in southern Indiana and western Kentucky after high winds, hail and several tornadoes swept across the area.

A category EF-1 tornado was confirmed in Union County, while a category EF-0 tornado hit the Smith Mills area of Henderson County.

“We noticed the wind getting up really bad, and it was thundering really bad,” said Debra Baird, who along with her family noticed the tornado from their front porch. It startled her family, and her pet dogs.

“We were panicking,” she said. “The dogs were acting freaky that morning. They were all acting weird, and my mother-in-law’s dog comes in when he knows it’s storming.”

Rick Shanklin of the National Weather Service says early indications are an EF-1 tornado, with a more than nine mile path, hit areas outside Morganfield, and other parts of the county. It downed trees and power poles, and damaged a few buildings.

“We’d seen a track of damage, it’s fairly consistent in at least where we have damage indicators,” he said.

Union County was one of several Kentucky counties hit with tornado damage. A category EF-2 tornado hit the Paducah area, just a few miles from the National Weather Service’s office.

“We’re just like anyone else, you get concerned for your safety. In the case of one of our employees, had a small son, in an elementary school, that the tornado went right over,” Shanklin recalled.

“They just could not believe a tornado was here in Morganfield,” Baird adds, recalling how others in Morganfield reacted. “They’re just shocked it was here. Usually, you hear about it everywhere else, but not here.”

The National Weather Service also reminds everyone to stay prepared in case a tornado or another severe storm comes through their area.

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(This story was originally published on March 15, 2019)

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