Severe weather brings damage to areas of Kentucky; 3 tornadoes confirmed

Published 4:29 pm Wednesday, April 3, 2024

It was a day and night of storm watching on Tuesday in Kentucky.

Severe early storms impacted the state  with tornadoes reported in several counties. Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency and activated the State Emergency Operations Center.

The National Weather Service confirmed EF-1 tornadoes in Nelson and Anderson County and later in Coldstream in Jefferson County. Several other areas were being reviewed.

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Damage was reported in Anderson, Bath, Ballard, Bourbon, Boyd, Carter, Clark, Elliott, Fayette, Greenup, Kenton, Jefferson, Jessamine, Mercer, Montgomery, Nelson, Powell, Union and Woodford counties.

Large power outages were reported in Boyd, Calloway, Carter, Greenup, Fayette and Marshall counties.

Written disaster declarations were received from Boyd County; Greenup County; city of Ashland and city of Catlettsburg and verbal disaster declarations were received from Bourbon, Clark, Elliott, Jessamine and Kenton counties and the city of Villa Hill.

Power outages were common in areas from east to west and early closings were the norm too at businesses and schools.

One of the first to shut down was the University of Kentucky, which canceled all in-person classes starting at 12:30. In making the announcement, UK officials said, “Damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes are possible until 10 p.m. This type of weather event is unusual for the Lexington area and the safety of our campus community is our top priority.”

In addition to cancelling classes, on-campus employees except those designated as Plan B employees were also sent home at 12:30. UK HealthCare hospitals and other essential services remained open.

UK is not the only location impacted in Lexington. Mayor Linda Gorton said, “We suffered significant damage this morning, with trees down, roads blocked, and traffic signals out after a first wave of storms with high winds moved through our city.” She also noted that more significant storms are in the forecast, adding, “Residents need to remain vigilant and stay indoors if possible.”

Even garbage pick-up was halted in Lexington, because downed trees and power lines made many roads impassable for the large trucks.

Four homes in Prospect were damaged by the storms, according to Mayor Doug Farnsley. The storm knocked down trees and knocked out power, but no injuries were reported, he said. A few homes in nearby Crestwood also reported damage from the storm, but no injuries, Oldham County Emergency Management said.

All Kentucky executive branch state office buildings closed Tuesday afternoon and schools dismissed students early because of the expected storms.

In addition, the governor activated Kentucky’s anti-price-gouging laws.

“We have reports of substantial damage to a number of structures – and thankfully, as of right now we are not aware of any fatalities,” Beshear said. “We need all Kentuckians to stay weather aware as we brace for more severe weather throughout the afternoon and evening.”

Many parts of Kentucky remain under tornado or flood watches into late Tuesday evening.