Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thunderstorms and Tornadoes

Wild weather in western Kentucky

Tonight, I'm listening to WHOP, the Hopkinsville news radio station. They've been broadcasting non-stop severe weather coverage for several hours. The uninterrupted broadcast is an indication of the serious danger posed by the storms that are moving across our area.

Just a few minutes ago, 2-1/4" hail was reported in northwestern Christian County --and then golf-ball-size hail in Hopkins County. Now they are reporting a tornado on the ground near Morton's Gap in southern Hopkins County, near the intersection of the Pennyrile Parkway and the Western Kentucky Parkway.

Hurricane-force winds in Murray

Tonight's weather is just another episode in a series that began several days ago. Last night, high winds passed through Murray in Calloway County (KY). Gusts up to 100 mph were measured. Today, classes were cancelled at Murray State University (where our son Isaac is a student), due to the power outage and the many fallen trees on the roads and streets. I heard on the news that hundreds of trees are down in Calloway County.

Isaac sent me a link to a set of photos from Murray State News showing some of the damage on and around campus. He said that some cars on the campus parking lots had broken windows, perhaps from wind-borne debris or perhaps simply from the wind force. His car was OK.

My fast trip to Clarksville

I left work at 3:30 PM yesterday, with plans to run an errand in Clarksville. A raincloud was approaching, so I hurried to the gas station and then headed south out of town on the (new) Pennyrile Parkway.

In that short time, the raincloud became a huge black mass that was rapidly filling the sky. I turned on the radio, and to my dismay, I learned that I was driving right into a tornado warning for Fort Campbell and southern Christian County. A car with flashing red lights was stopped on the shoulder of the road, and two weather observers were watching the storm cloud. I thought about returning to Hopkinsville and going into a store, but I couldn't find a place to turn around. So I drove fast and managed to get southeast of the storm before it hit the Parkway. (This is not a safe thing to try!)

The storm was in Todd County when I took this photo.
I photographed the storm cloud from the mall parking lot in Clarksville. The storm was already in Todd County by then. When I drove through Todd County on my way home half an hour later, the storm was threatening Morgantown in the next county northeast.

This storm cloud produced a possible tornado near the Bradshaw road as it passed through southern Christian County. Some farm buildings in the area were damaged and trees were blown down.

UPDATE: Aircraft and facilities of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) at Fort Campbell were also damaged by storm winds. The extent of the damage was not included in the news release, but there were no injuries. I do not know if that damage was caused by the storm cloud I was racing or by another of the several storms that tracked across the area later that evening.

And it's raining.

During the last few minutes, heavy rain has begun again at our house. The ground is already saturated. Like most of western Kentucky, Christian County has a flash flood warning. Residents of Hopkinsville's low-lying areas are watching the Little River fearfully. Stormwater utility workers have been removing log jams from the river as they occur, to keep it flowing as freely as possible.

According to WHOP's website, "Christian County Emergency Management Director Randy Graham says the Storm Prediction Center is forecasting another seven inches of rain for Christian County before the week is done..."

The good news is that the cold front behind the severe weather will finally arrive sometime tomorrow. The temperature tomorrow night is supposed to be in the 40s. We are thankful that we haven't had any major damage so far in this series of storms. I hope that you have not suffered injury or property damage either!

The storm left Todd County before I got there.

This storm hit Dawson Springs this afternoon.
"Four Rivers Region Emergency Recovery Updates"


Collagemama said...

Be safe!

Stitchy Mc Floss said...

Check out this link of the photos of the Madisonville area:

Just crazy. Hope you all stay safe down in the Hop-town area and everywhere else, too. :)

Genevieve said...

Ladies, you should both stay safe as well!

I rather doubt that we will have school here tomorrow. They are dismissing early today because of the flooded roads, and it's still raining.

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