Anniversary Of Deadly Tornado Outbreak

By: Denny Trease Email
By: Denny Trease Email

It's hard to believe, but at this time last year, folks were picking up the damage from killer tornadoes, instead of ice and snow.

It was the third worst tornado outbreak in our state's history. Seven people across the state died.

In all, 15 Kentucky counties, including Fayette, were declared federal disaster areas.

Mercer County residents are becoming all too accustomed to natural disasters.

Friday marked the one year anniversary of a tornado that swept through the county where more than 400 people are still without power from the ice storm.

Emergency Management Director Jon Jones had only been on the job for 2 months when the tornado of 2008 hit.

"The wind woke me up about one in the morning a year ago today, went over the Harlow School, through the fairgrounds, and right downtown. 310 buildings, and the initial estimate was between 4 and 5 million dollars," Jones said.

The only evidence of that twister is the foundation of the grandstand that was blown away at the fairgrounds, but the pile of debris from that storm wasn't nearly as large as the one from this year's ice storm.

Dealing with the tornado may have prepared folks here for getting through the ice storm.

"In some ways, and I'm hopeful that this will help us with anything in the future. It really just brings a community together, and I think it brings out the best in people when you have times like these," Jones said.

The tornado did cause some power outages, but in a much narrower band than the ice storm did.

Now who would blame the people here for wondering what's in store for them next February 6th.

The Mercer County Judge Executive says he and his staff are so accustomed to dealing with FEMA that they've practically memorized the forms they need to fill out.


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