NWS Meteorologists Make Determination On Floyd County Storm Damage

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

A team from the National Weather Service tried to determine whether it was a tornado or straight line winds as they checked the damage from Friday's storm.

It was the sound of a freight train that made Hank Williams believe he had a tornado on his hands Friday afternoon.

“We were still dealing with very strong winds, maybe up to 70 miles per hour, when you have winds like that, maybe dealing with trees, you're going to have a load roar,” Meteorologist Brian Schoettmer said.

Meteorologist say very strong storm cell that lasted nearly 4 hours, brought a lot of damage to eastern Kentucky.

These meteorologists studied the line of the debris, computer models of the storm, and first hand accounts.

“It was just kind of a morphing storm. It changed it's shape and structure a lot and it produced a lot of wind damage across eastern Kentucky,” Meteorologist Jon Pelton said.

But was it a tornado? Pelton says it looks like straight line winds caused the damage in Floyd County.

“If it were more of a tornado, you would actually see the debris kind of converge toward a point,” Pelton said.

“Even though this was a straight line wind event, it shows that you can still do a lot of damage,” Schoettmer said.

Though it doesn't appear there was a tornado in Floyd county, the National Weather Service does agree at least one touched down in Wayne county.

Crews will take a trip to Clay County on Tuesday to see if a tornado caused the damage in that area.

Both meteorologists say because the public was warned in advance, most people were expecting the strong storm, and luckily, there were no serious injuries were reported.

Here's the official report from the NWS:

...DAMAGE IN FLOYD COUNTY DETERMINED TO BE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS...

A DAMAGE ASSESSMENT TEAM CONSISTING OF NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EMPLOYEES SURVEYED DAMAGE IN EASTERN FLOYD COUNTY THAT WAS DETERMINED TO BE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS. DAMAGE TO TREES AND A FEW MOBILE HOMES IN THE BLUE MOON AREA ALONG MORGAN FORK ROAD WAS CONSISTENT WITH THAT OF DOWNBURST WINDS. PRELIMINARY WIND SPEEDS WERE ESTIMATED TO BE UP TO 70 MPH BASED ON THE DAMAGE OBSERVED AND LIKELY INFLUENCED BY TERRAIN IN THE AREA. WINDS SPEED HIGHER UP ON THE RIDGE TOPS SHOWED DAMAGE CONSISTENT WITH WINDS UP TO 80 MPH.

ONE TRAILER...WHICH WAS NOT ANCHORED...SLID OFF OF ITS FOUNDATION AGAINST AN ELECTRIC POLE...WHILE ANOTHER UNANCHORED TRAILER WAS HEAVILY DAMAGED. WITNESSES REPORTED VERY STRONG WINDS AND HALF-DOLLAR SIZED HAIL ALONG WITH HEAVY RAINFALL.

OTHER DAMAGE OBSERVED ON THE FLOYD AND KNOTT COUNTY LINE WAS ALSO DETERMINED TO BE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS. A FEW TREES WERE SNAPPED IN AN ISOLATED AREA NEAR LACKEY...WITH PRELIMINARY WIND SPEEDS ESTIMATED TO BE UP TO 80 MPH.


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