PADUCAH, Ky. (KT) - While many parts of Kentucky experienced damage due to high winds and severe thunderstorms that moved across the state on Thursday, probably the worst damage occurred in the west, particularly in the Paducah area.
The National Weather Service office in Paducah confirmed an EF-2 tornado with maximum winds of 125 miles per hour, left a 16-mile path through parts of Ballard, Carlisle and McCracken counties around 9:15 (CDT) Thursday morning.
According to a damage survey conducted by NWS personnel, it developed near Cunningham, quickly intensified and widened, reaching 300 yards wide just west of Lovelaceville.
It reached its maximum intensity between there and Barkley Regional Airport, west of Paducah. Employees of the weather service office spotted the twister and went to their storm shelter, forcing the NWS Louisville to take over their duties temporarily, but the tornado narrowly missed the building. The path ended four miles west of downtown Paducah.
The survey says at least a dozen homes sustained major damage in the three counties, which included walls blown out and partial roof loss. Dozens of outbuildings, garages and grain bins were destroyed. In addition, dozens of homes sustained minor damage, such as loss of shingles.
The roof was completely blown off the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in McCracken County, where 40 children were sheltering in place. None of them were hurt.
The Kentucky Oaks mall on the west side of Paducah sustained roof damage and lost 10 to 12 roof HVAC units, with similar damage at a nearby strip mall.
Four cows were killed near Lovelaceville, and there was one human injury when a grain bin was blown onto a pickup truck on U.S. 62.
The Paducah weather office said more surveys were being planned.