National Weather Service discusses warning of deadly 2005 Tri-State tornado

Weather

(WEHT) — On the night on November 5, 2005, many residents in Henderson, Kentucky and Evansville, Indiana and Gentryville, Indiana went to bed not knowing their lives would change in the early morning hours of November 6th.

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service in Paducah had been watching the storm since it crossed into Missouri. They noticed the storm was strong, and even across Illinois, showed signs of rotation, but never produced a tornado. Lead meteorologist Christine Wielgos was in the office that night keeping an eye on the storm. She said as soon as the storm crossed into Union County, Kentucky, it was evident a tornado warning was needed. She said she was reluctant to issue the warning at 2 a.m., knowing it would wake a lot of people up, and there may not be an actual tornado. However, she said the rotation became more well defined, and had to issue the warning to try and save lives.

Being in Paducah and far from the storm, the weather service monitors local TV station’s coverage to get reports of any possible damage. Wielgos said she knew for a fact there was a tornado, and it was heading towards Evansville, when she heard Chief Meteorologist Wayne Hart report Ellis Park had been damaged.

The tornado spent 45 minutes on the ground traveling a distance of 41 miles with peak winds of 200 miles per hour. Sadly, the tornado took the lives of 25 people, most located inside what was then the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park in Evansville. 

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