Dramatic video shows West Liberty tornado

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

Friday's tornado in West Liberty, was one of the most violent storms to hit Kentucky. Homes and businesses were wiped out, and six lives were claimed in the process.

"The scene is surreal," described Kevin Adkins, "all of your points of reference [in town] are gone."

Adkins was in West Liberty for a family celebration, leaving Lexington, and arrived just moments before the storm.

"We thought we were getting away from the storm, ironically," said Adkins.

What happened next changed Adkins' life. Right outside of his sister's home, the funnel cloud began to form.

"I got the camera and we just started watching the sky, and when it got interesting I started filming," recalled Adkins.

"I couldn't stop filming, it was a hypnotic attraction to seeing something so rare forming right in front of you."

He posted his video to youtube.com and has had more than 100-thousand views in a few days.

"A couple of people asked me, 'Why did you stop filming so abruptly?' I think it was a combination of self-preservation kicking in and I heard a couple of loud things hitting somewhere on the house," answered Adkins.

In the background, his sister screams, urging her husband and brother to come inside and get to the basement. Adkins says she would've like to have gone in for cover sooner. Finally, he realized it was time to get out of the storm's way.

"I was in a big hurry to get down [to the basement] because I could hear that classic freight-train noise," recalled Adkins.

The family made their way down the darkened basement stairwell, Adkins raced to the basement door to see what was happening.

"It was shocking! I didn't realize it was going to be that close."

The family survived and had little damage to the home, but immediately the family was consumed with getting to the downtown area, where Adkins' aunt lives.

The found her, safe, with only a few cuts.

Shortly after, Adkins and his wife, Kellie, put their first responder training to use and started helping victims.

Adkins recalled the victims were just shocked by the sight of their town destroyed and had no clue just how big the storm was.

"They don't have a face for the monster that basically destroyed their home," stated Adkins of the victims who had to seek cover from the storm, "so this put a face on it."

While he's grateful to be alive, Adkins hopes his video will help others realize just how much his hometown needs help because he knows the town will, "never look the same."

Adkins said since the seeing the video, he realized just how dangerous the storm was, and how a matter of minutes or miles could've changed everything.

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