EF-1 confirmed in Butler County; surveys of violent weather continue

Published 3:52 pm Monday, May 27, 2024

By Micheal J. Collins, Bowling Green Daily News

Kentuckians across the state awoke Memorial Day surrounded by fallen trees and debris in dark homes after severe storms Sunday night into Monday morning.

Parts of Warren and surrounding counties, especially Butler, saw their share of damage as meteorologists analyzed signs of tornado activity throughout Memorial Day.

@WXorNotBG stated on X.com an assessment with NWS Louisville confirmed an EF-1 tornado in Butler County with “obvious tornado damage on the south side.”

Surveys continued Monday on weather activity in north Warren, WXorNotBG stated.

Warren Regional Electric Co-Op Corporation reported approximately 7,400 customers without electricity by 12 a.m. Monday, stating 13,900 members were at one point without power.

Bowling Green Municipal Utilities stated on X.com less than 1,000 customers remained powerless by 5:20 a.m., with around 9,000 without power just before 11 p.m. Sunday.

Other utility companies across the region also reported widespread outages.

NWS Louisville also confirmed on X.com storm surveys in north Warren, where numerous residents Monday remained without power since Sunday.

North Campbell Road resident Monty Lawrence worked with family Monday to remove a large, decades old tree that had fallen in his yard. The tree barely hit his home and front porch, damaging gutters and rocking chairs, he said.

“I’m just trying to get that off the house to see how much damage it did and take a picture for insurance, but I think all it did was take a gutter part down,” he said.

A trampoline sat mangled in one corner of his yard – it was not his, he said. It likely blew in from the nearby Green Valley Mobile Home Park, where power lines and other trees were also heavily damaged.

“Seemed like in a minute, two minutes, it was over,” Lawrence said. “Just like that, it went through.”

The Daily News observed at least one home largely destroyed in the storm around KY-526 along Allen Michael Lane, roughly a mile away from Lawrence’s home.

The homeowner declined to speak to the Daily News on the record but stated no one was injured as the family took shelter.

Insulation and shingles peppered nearby homes and cars and a path of damage led residents to believe a small tornado may have touched down.

Their neighbor, 23-year-old Tyler Bellars, was the only person home during last night’s storm. Her mother is still on vacation and extended family had arrived to help.

The garage of the home was demolished and several cars were damaged. Bellars said a truck sitting in the driveway was found with shingles stuck under the tire, indicating it may have been lifted by the wind.

She said storms early Sunday were comparatively mild, though around 10 p.m. the wind sounded “like an engine” outside.

“When I heard the ‘engine,’ I thought it was a car outside, but then I started hearing the rattling on the roof and the back porch furniture be picked up and dropped from the wind,” she said. “I ran downstairs as fast as I could, got my dog in the bathroom and stayed there. It only lasted five minutes.”

Looking over her damaged neighborhood, where family and neighbors worked to pick up the pieces, Bellars was left with one question.

“Why does disaster have to (happen to) bring people together,” she asked.

Gov. Andy Beshear addressed the state Monday and reported at least four confirmed deaths, with another “fighting for his life,” he said.

The National Weather Service and meteorological groups across the state are still working to decipher potential tornado touchdowns from extreme winds.

“So far, we believe at least a few tornadoes touched down, including the one we know was on the ground at least 40 miles,” Beshear said.

Beshear said that tornado barely missed Mayfield and went north of Dawson Springs, “but hit those two towns.” Social media posts on X.com show numerous homes leveled in the storm.

Beshear also said over 174,000 customers remained without power across the state and the crews continue to work to restore power.