Overnight storms knock out power, cause fires in Central, Eastern Kentucky

jwarren@herald-leader.comMay 22, 2014 

Thunderstorms overnight knocked out power in scattered areas, sparked lightning strikes, and toppled trees in various parts of Kentucky, officials said.

Taylor County apparently sustained significant damage, with power lines down and damaged buildings in Campbellsville, the county seat, said Buddy Rogers, spokesman for the Kentucky Division of Emergency Services.

"They have one house with a roof partially blown off; billboards blown over, damage in some city shopping plazas, windows broken out," he said. "They apparently received a lot of large hail and winds.

"It was what you could call a typical overnight spring storm," Rogers said.

About 24,000 LGE-KU customers lost power in scattered areas overnight, the company said. Electricty had been restored to most customers by early Thursday morning.

Areas hit hardest hit included Danville, where about 2,600 customers lost power, and Shelbyville and Shelby County, where about 5,800 customers were affected, LGE-KU spokeswoman Chris Whelan said.

Other hard-hit areas listed on the utility company's online outage map were Harlan County, where more than 2,400 customers lost power; LaRue County, with almost 2,700 outages; and Hardin County, with 2,616 customers affected.

In Fayette County, the most intense storm occurred between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday, when 1.12 inches of rain were recorded at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport. A total of 1.75 inches was recorded overnight.

Most of the power outages were caused by high winds knocking down limbs or tangling wires, Whelan said.

Meanwhile, an apparent lightning strike about 4:50 a.m. sparked a fire that damaged the Georgetown Church of the Nazarene.

Georgetown Battalion Chief Eric Colson said fire damage occurred on the church's roof, and water damage occurred inside the building, including the sanctuary. The fire spread into the sanctuary, he said.

Firefighters are nearly certain that a lightning bolt hit the church's steeple, causing the fire, Colson said. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, he said.

With a few repairs, the church would be able to hold services, Colson said.

In another weather-related fire, a barn burned overnight on Carrick Pike in Scott County, Colson said.

A lightning strike also was blamed for a fire that heavily damaged the Clay Building Supply Co. about 11 p.m. Wednesday on U.S. 421 in Manchester.

Part of the business might be a total loss, and other sections were damaged by smoke and water, according to a spokeswoman at Manchester City Hall.

Rogers, the state emergency services spokesman, said most of the damage reported around the state was minor, although reports were still coming in at 9 a.m. Thursday.

"It's mostly power outages, tree debris and some trees down across roads," he said. "Fortunately, I think most of what we've seen has already been cleaned up. Most roads have reopened."

Jim Warren: (859) 231-3255.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service