Straight Line Winds Cause Significant Damage In Bee Spring Area
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Warning Coordination Meteorologist Joe Sullivan, from the National Weather Service in Louisville, met with Edmonson County Emergency Management Director Rob McGuffey and Edmonson Voice Meteorologist Landon Hampton in Bee Spring today as the NWS used Edmonson Voice drone footage to help evaluate last night's storm that ripped through the northern end of the county.
Sullivan said that according to the damage, aerial footage, and data, there was no confirmed tornado; however, it was estimated that wind speeds along KY HWY 259 N reached 95mph.
He also said the structural damage from the straight line winds was as significant as any he's seen in recent times. The NWS used Edmonson Voice drone footage to try to trace the storm's path. It appeared as though the swath of the winds was around one mile wide.
Some property owners asked how could there not be a tornado if the damage was so sporadic, but Sullivan described straight line winds as sometimes having "fingers."
"Most people think of it as a big solid wall of wind, but that's not what this is," he said. "It's more like a group of fingers that spread out across. That's why you have this area that saw significant damage while this little space or that, didn't see much or any at all."
Trees were broken and uprooted all over Bee Spring. Garages and storage buildings were crushed like aluminum cans. Several homes around the lake saw roof damage as well.
Landon Saling, who lives on Jim Meredith Road, said the interior walls of his home were flexing back and forth during the 3-4 minute time period of the worst winds. He and his family made their way to the basement. The top of a detached garage was blown off on his property. Pieces of the garage were scattered hundreds of yards across a field.
Meteorologist Landon Hampton said that although he tracked last night's storm, he was surprised to see the amount of damage to the area.
"It's probably as much damage from straight line winds that I've seen. The impact of the hail damage here was also very surprising."
Hampton also noted that there was no tornado warning for the area last night, only a tornado watch.
"That's why we always encourage everyone to take severe thunderstorm warnings seriously," he said. "As we see here in Bee Spring, these storms can be extremely damaging."
Bee Spring Missionary Baptist Church was slammed with high winds and hail damage. The entire front of the church looked as though it had been blasted with a shotgun. The roof and steeple also took on serious damage.
Large groups of hail were still piled up around noon today.
County road crews were cleaning truck loads of downed trees and limbs. WRECC contractors were busy replacing up to a dozen utility poles along 259, as they worked diligently to restore power to hundreds of customers. Luckily, no injuries were reported, according to the Sheriff's Office.