An unusually severe weather system ripped across the nation's midsection with storms and tornadoes Sunday, leaving six people dead in Illinois, and thousands of residents in damaged homes or without power in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Missouri.
In Kentucky, tornadoes were reported in eight western counties. Kentucky Emergency Management said tornadoes caused downed trees and power lines, along with some residential damage in Butler, Edmonson, Henderson, Lyon, McCracken, Muhlenberg, Union and Warren counties. At least one home had its roof blown off. About 3,000 people in Muhlenberg County has lost power.
As of Sunday evening, there were no serious injuries or deaths from the storms, officials said.
The National Weather Service had issued a tornado watch for most of Central Kentucky, but that threat appeared to weaken through the evening.
The storm was caused by a cold front that made its way across the Ohio Valley. The wave of thunderstorms that brought the damaging winds and tornadoes affected 12 states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and western New York.
"This will go down as one of the great November tornado outbreaks. This is very rare what's happening today," WKYT meteorologist Chris Bailey said Sunday. Usually, by mid-November, severe fronts have quieted down.
Although the worst of the storms avoided Fayette County, officials at Rupp Arena were ready for any possibilities. At the University of Kentucky men's basketball game, which started at 7 p.m., officials announced a "shelter in place" safety plan, which would direct most people into hallways and concourses.
"I hope not to benefit from my experience," said UK associate athletic director DeWayne Peevy, who was working for the SEC during its 2008 tournament when a tornado hit the Georgia Dome.
The storm lines lost power as they made their way into Eastern Kentucky.
Monday's weather is supposed to be much better, but much colder with continued high winds, Bailey said.
For the latest on the weather, read WKYT chief meteorologist Chris Bailey's blog at Weather.bloginky.com.