Weather officials say storms in Harrison, Bourbon counties included tornadoes

jwarren@herald-leader.comDecember 23, 2013 

EF-1 tornadoes apparently hit Harrison and Bourbon counties this weekend, weather officials said Monday.

A National Weather Service survey team concluded Monday that the tornados hit both counties, but officials said the report is preliminary. More information is expected to be released later.

On Monday, WKYT Chief Meteorologist Chris Bailey said the EF-1 tornadoes — one touched down Sunday near Breckinridge in Harrison County; the other touched down Saturday near Ruddles Mills in northern Bourbon County — were rare for Kentucky. Both tornadoes had estimated winds of 90-100 mph, and are the first December tornadoes in Central Kentucky since 1971, Bailey said.

No injuries were reported.

However, buildings were damaged and trees were knocked down in Cynthiana and other parts of the county, Cynthiana Mayor Steve Moses said.

Bridge and Walnut streets remained blocked by debris Monday morning, Moses said. City officials planned to meet later to evaluate the storm's aftermath.

"There was a lot of wind," Moses said. "We had some houses that were damaged and some barns that blew down out in the county, in addition to the damage in town."

Much of the damage in rural parts of Harrison County was reported in the Dutch Chapel and Sunrise areas, the mayor said.

In Cynthiana, the China House restaurant and the Prizing House, where public events are held, suffered significant damage, Moses said.

Part of the China House roof was blown off and the rest of the roof collapsed into the building, officials said. Bricks from the building ended up in the street.

The Prizing House lost about a quarter of its roof.

"We're going to do an assessment this morning, and see what we might be able to do to help them get repairs started," Moses said.

Both buildings probably will need extensive work, he said.

Overall, it was a weekend of rough weather across much of Kentucky.

Weather officials had confirmed that an EF-1 tornado struck Taylor County on Saturday night.

Five people died in flooding caused by the storm front. Flood-related deaths were reported in Nelson, Carroll and Ballard counties.

The survey team was scheduled to arrive in Cynthiana later Monday, according to the National Weather Service office in Louisville.

In addition to damage in Harrison County, authorities said trees, barns and vehicles were damaged in Bourbon and Lincoln counties.

Jim Warren: (859) 231-3255. Twitter: @hlpublicsafety.

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