Storms that blew through Kentucky on Wednesday caused damage in more than 30 counties, tearing the roofs from homes and barns and knocking down power lines and trees.
Estill County was among the hardest hit, with 12 to 15 homes destroyed or damaged so badly they were uninhabitable, while 30 mobile homes in a park at the southern edge of Richmond were damaged or destroyed, officials said.
Straight-line winds hitting 100 mph caused damage in Estill and near the Madison County line, said Brian Schoettmer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Louisville office.
Seven state prisons were also damaged by torrential rain and wind, according to the Kentucky Department of Corrections.
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There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries, said Buddy Rogers, spokesman for Kentucky Emergency Management.
In Fayette County, much of the damage reported was north of New Circle Road in the area of Yarnallton Pike, Leestown Road and the Masterson Station subdivision. Wind tore into roofs and siding and caused other minor structural problems, emergency management spokesman John Bobel said.
Straight-line winds at speeds of 80 mph damaged 12 agricultural barns at the University of Kentucky’s North Farm north of Lexington, Schoettmer and university spokesman Jay Blanton said.
“The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is saying they don’t have a cost estimate at this time. They will have to get in there and look at the barns and examine the extent of the damage before they can make an estimate,” Blanton said. “These were, for the most part, barns and structures for storage. Combination of wood and metal.”
Amgad Rizk and his family were startled awake at 4 a.m. when the storm struck their home in Masterson Station, tearing off the chimney and siding.
“Everyone was sleeping when we started hearing the house shaking so bad,” said Rizk, who moved to Lexington from Cairo, Egypt, in 2005. “It woke us all up, and we went to the basement.”
Busy Leestown Road, between Masterson Station Drive and Yarnallton Pike, was closed into the evening for repairs to utility poles and lines. Downed trees also were reported in the Harrodsburg Road area.
Meanwhile, in Scott County, the national weather service said a survey team tentatively determined that straight-line winds of 70 mph north of Georgetown and 80 mph near Stamping Ground caused problems. Two businesses off of Triport Road sustained roof damage, said Jack Donovan, director of the county emergency management agency.
Rogers said 37 counties across the state reported some level of wind damage Wednesday. Some had only trees blown down, while in others buildings were destroyed.
In Estill County, the winds moved through about 8:30 a.m., said emergency manager Ronnie Riddell. In addition to the homes that were destroyed, many sustained lesser harm.
The worst damage stretched from the 600 block of Broadway Street in Irvine to 7th Street in Ravenna, said Melissa Jessie, spokeswoman for the county emergency management office.
“It looks like a war zone,” Jessie said, adding that residents said they saw a tornado.
Jessie said most people who can’t return home will likely stay with relatives, though officials had set up a shelter for anyone who needed it.
As of late afternoon, 1,300 residents were without power. The county school system called off classes the rest of the week because of the need to clean up debris, Jessie said.
There was only one minor injury reported as a result of the storm.
In Madison County, 30 mobile homes on U.S. 25 were damaged, said Corey Lewis, spokesman for the Richmond Fire Department.
Lewis said at least five were left uninhabitable. Officials were still assessing others.
Some residents received scrapes and bruises during the storm, but there were no serious injuries, Lewis said.
The Red Cross was working with residents of the mobile home park to make sure they had a place to stay. Anyone in Madison County who needed Red Cross assistance was asked to call 859-253-1331.
Officials also reported damage to homes, businesses and other buildings in several other Eastern Kentucky counties. Some roads were blocked at times by fallen trees.
Kentucky Power said the storms knocked out power Wednesday to about 27,500 customers in more than 15 counties in its service area in Eastern Kentucky. Power was still out to more than 18,000 Wednesday night.
The counties with the highest initial numbers of outages were Pike, which had more than 7,000 customers without power, and Boyd, Breathitt, Floyd and Greenup, with 2,000 or more each.
The utility said in a news release that winds peaked at 68 mph in Knott County and 56 mph in Jackson County.
The state prison facilities hit the hardest were Kentucky State Penitentiary and Western Kentucky Correctional Complex in Lyon County, and Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington. Three staff members at the Kentucky State Penitentiary and one at Kentucky State Reformatory suffered non-life threatening injuries due to blowing glass, debris and equipment.
Several prisons were placed on lockdown status during and after the storm.