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EF-1 tornado confirmed in Butler, Muhlenberg and Warren Counties

National Weather Service
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National Weather Service

The National Weather Service is on site in southern Kentucky after a EF-1 tornado touched down during a deadly outbreak of storms across portions of Kentucky.

The agency confirmed an EF1 tornado touched down in Muhlenberg County. Meteorologists have given a preliminary determination that the tornado produced wind gusts of 110 miles per hour.

Governor Andy Beshear confirmed five fatalities have been reportedacross Kentucky due to the storm. The severe weather caused widespread power outages and structural damage to houses and businesses in the state.

Samantha Michlowitz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Louisville, confirmed the tornado crossed 30-miles through Muhlenberg County and into northern Warren County on Sunday night.

“We do know an EF1 started in Butler County, at the border of Butler and Muhlenberg County,” Michlowitz said. “It tracked all the way into Warren County, just North of Plum Springs.”

According to Michlowitz the force of the tornado destroyed a home in northern Warren county.

“It was a two story home, and a tornado struck the home and now it is a one story home,” Michlowitz said. “The man that lives there received the warning and just a few minutes before the tornado hit their home the man went upstairs, grabbed his son and brought him downstairs. It’s wonderful they got the warning, heeded the warning and everyone is okay.”

Survey teams from the National Weather Service are on site to assess damage and gather data in Warren and Butler County. Michlowitz said a survey teams will be working throughout the week across Southern Kentucky.

“We’re going to be out in Barren, Metcalfe and Monroe Counties, and then also Thursday we're going to be in Cumberland and Clinton Counties,” Michlowitz said. “It’s going to be a busy week.”

Butler County is one of the many parts of the state still clearing downed trees and branches following the weekend storms. The recovery efforts have been collaborative, with local utilities hiring contractors to help get the lights back on, and the state highway department helping clear the roadways.

Charlie Tomes, Butler County Emergency Management Director, said county crews are trying to build on the progress they made in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s tornado.

“During the storm, we were just making access–maybe one lane of roadway where we could get through with the emergency vehicles,” Tomes said. “So now they’re cutting those trees back, making open lanes even farther.”

Tomes said while the tornado moved through part of the county led to damaged homes, downed trees and power outages, it could have been much worse.

“We always try to prepare, Tomes said. “But we also do a lot of praying. And we feel like we’re very blessed with just the damages that we did receive and that we didn't have any loss of life.”

Jacob Martin is a Reporter at WKU Public Radio. He joined the newsroom from Kansas City, where he covered the city’s underserved communities and general assignments at NPR member station, KCUR. A Louisville native, he spent seven years living in Brooklyn, New York before moving back to Kentucky. Email him at Jacob.martin@wku.edu.