Louisville Region Cleans Up From 4 Tornadoes

On January 18, the courier-journal.com released an article entitled Louisville Region Cleans Up from 4 Tornadoes.

Louisville Region Cleans Up from 4 Tornadoes

Having heeded the tornado warning, Sandy Callahan was in her Goose Creek-area basement when she heard a sickening but unmistakable sound — the crash of a 40-year-old oak tree slicing through the roof of her home.

Hours later, as her street buzzed with chain saws and utility trucks, Callahan watched from a neighbor’s deck while a giant crane lifted the massive trunk off her wrecked home. After it was gone, she spotted a tree-removal worker standing in the open air of what had been her bedroom ceiling.

“It’s a mess,” she said, shaking her head as she prepared to salvage what she could. “But I’m glad everyone is safe.”

That was the common refrain after an unnerving January storm blew through the Louisville area Tuesday morning, stirring up at least four confirmed tornadoes, toppling trees and vehicles and leaving thousands without power.

The National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-1 tornado, with winds up to 95 mph, touched down near the Watterson Expressway and Brownsboro Road, tracking northeast. An EF-0 tornado reaching 85 mph briefly touched down at the Madison, Ind., Municipal County Airport, causing some damage.

A third tornado, an EF-0 with winds reaching 75 mph, touched down in the Walmart parking lot at Veterans Parkway in Clarksville, knocking over vehicles and damaging buildings on a 2-mile path.

And Tuesday night the weather service confirmed a fourth tornado, an EF-0, touched down on East Riley Road in Floyds Knobs about 11 a.m.

No one was killed or seriously injured during the storms.

The Louisville area appeared to be among the hardest hit in Kentucky, though storm warnings stretched into south-central and Eastern Kentucky. The Indiana towns of Clarksville, Jeffersonville and Madison also saw businesses damaged and trees uprooted.

The twister seemed to follow Ky. 22 up through northeast Jefferson County. Trees and limbs were strewn all over the small city of Ten Broeck off Ky. 22, where a witness said he saw the twister blow through.

Contractor Ed Jackson said he watched from inside his truck as a “sidewinder” funnel cloud ripped through the area, snapping and uprooting trees.

“It was really churning pretty good,” he said.

Retiree Lynn Ogden and his wife, Karen, huddled in their basement and later discovered that a tree limb had “speared” through a window in their home.

“We heard a few thuds,” he said.

The area of Goose Creek, and the nearby subdivisions wedged between Brownsboro and Westport roads, were especially hard hit by the high winds from the freakish January storm. In some spots, power lines were draped across roads, roofing had been ripped off homes and massive uprooted trees were left blocking streets or lying across cars, fences and homes.

“Even our fire station lost power just as we were pulling out,” said a sawdust-caked Capt. Steve Krebs of the Worthington Fire Department, who was taking a chain saw to a tree.

Nearby, Joyce Green stood looking at a blue spruce torn from the earth that had smashed a gas line. It had begun leaking, but firefighters soon had it shut off, along with the power. Although she didn’t know how long she would be without heat and light, she planned to remain at home.

“I bet it’ll be a few days at least,” she said.

Another neighbor, Amy Kessler, stood outside her home on Dinah Way, pondering a big tree that had been uprooted in her neighbor’s yard, had crossed the street and had come to rest in her front yard. She also lost a spruce in her backyard and had a piece of her chimney blown off.

“Luckily, the only ones traumatized at our house were the cats,” Kessler said.

Several JCPS schools affected

The storm left five Jefferson County Public Schools buildings without power — Norton, Semple, Rutherford and Dunn elementary schools, along with Carrithers Middle School, said district spokeswoman Lauren Roberts. Farmer and Wheeler elementary schools and Ramsey Middle School lost phone service.

JCPS officials said they couldn’t bus some students home because of road closings and damage. They asked parents to pick up their children at Ballard High School.

In all, the storms knocked out power to roughly 23,700 customers of Louisville Gas & Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co., spokeswoman Liz Pratt said. By 11 p.m., that figure had dropped to 970 in Jefferson County, according to the utility

Warnings abounded
Tornado warnings were issued during the late morning for counties throughout Southern Indiana and north-central Kentucky, though most had expired by noon.

“Some of the worst damage is in northeast Jefferson County and north of Jeffersonville,” said Mike Callahan, a hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Louisville.

The Jefferson County tornado’s path was 4.2 miles long and 250 yards wide, the weather service said.

After touchdown, the tornado briefly lifted near Hurstbourne Parkway and Brownsboro Road, re-formed and crossed the Gene Snyder Freeway, the weather service said.

Ryan Sharp, a meteorologist with the weather service in Louisville, said four tornadoes touched down in Western Kentucky in late February last year.

Tuesday’s tornadoes were the result of a low-pressure system north of the Louisville area that brought warm air and moisture from the south, leading to the thunderstorm as a cold front moved eastward, Sharp said.

Windy conditions earlier Tuesday — LG&E had reports of power outages before the storm hit — caused a shear that sometimes spawns rotation and tornadoes, Sharp added.

Clarksville, Ind., businesses hit
The storm blew through parts of Clarksville and Jeffersonville in Southern Indiana, with a confirmed tornado tearing 1,800-pound air conditioning units from the roof of one business and tossing an automobile across a parking lot.

Despite the extensive damage to structures and vehicles in a strip shopping center on Veterans Parkway next to Interstate 65, there were no reports of injuries, Clarksville Fire Chief Tom Upton said.

“I feel very fortunate,” Jeffersonville Emergency Management Coordinator Mindy Christian said, explaining that the powerful winds that blew across I-65 from Clarksville about 11:15 a.m. also did widespread but minor damage to The Meadows subdivision off Hamburg Pike.

There were no injuries in that area, either, Christian said, but the storm blew shingles and gutters off up to 100 homes nearby, downed several trees and drove limbs into a number of vehicles, she said.

Madison, Ind., reports damage
In Madison, Ind., where the third tornado touched down, a storage building with four large overhead garage doors at a Clifty Engineering and Tool Co. was ripped open when a line of thunderstorms raced through around 11 a.m.

The roof over the main offices at Clifty, located on Clifty Drive in the community’s industrial park, also was torn off, said Dave Bell, the county’s emergency management director.

Tornado damage was reported at the local airport. “The storm picked up a plane and dropped it back on the ground,” Bell said.

To view  a zip code list of the affected areas, please click here.

To view the online article, please click here.

About Safeguard
Safeguard Properties is the largest privately held field services company in the country. Located in Cleveland, Ohio and founded in 1990 by Robert Klein, Safeguard has grown from a regional preservation company with a few employees  and a handful of contractors performing services in the Midwest, to a national company with over 800 employees. Safeguard is supported by a nationwide network of subcontractors able to perform any requested superintendence, preservation, and maintenance functions, as well as numerous ancillary services in the U.S., the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.


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