27 May 2004
Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
Tornado Damage

Widespread severe thunderstorm damage occurred across portions of south-central Indiana and central Kentucky on the evening of May 27, 2004.

The following is the official public information statement detailing the extent of F3 tornado damage and estimated path dimensions of a tornado that hit the north side of Lexington.

Map of Masterson Station tornado path

 Map of the May 27, 2004 Masterson Station tornado path

This F3 tornado was the first tornado of that magnitude to hit Lexington, KY in 67 years.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LOUISVILLE KY
730 PM EDT FRI MAY 28 2004

Severe thunderstorms raced across parts of south central Indiana and north and east central Kentucky during the evening of Thursday, May 27, 2004.  The hardest hit area was northwest Lexington in an area extending from Masterson Station east to just east of the intersection of Georgetown Road and Citation Boulevard.

National Weather Service personnel conducted a storm damage survey of this area to determine tornado versus straight-line wind damage, and estimates of associated wind speeds.  The information below contains results of this survey.

Damage trends suggest a combination of a tornado and intense straight-line winds in this area.  Based on numerous witnesses and visible damage, it is estimated that a tornado first touched down just east of Masterson Station Park on the subdivision road of Buck Lane and continued east through the subdivision around 10:15pm EDT.  The tornado that was produced was classified as an F2 at this location.  Just to the south of the tornado path, straight-line winds in excess of 100 mph toppled a significant number of large trees.

The tornado then crossed an open field and moved into another subdivision producing even more extensive damage in the range of an upper limit of F2 to the lower limit of an F3.  It appears the tornado reached its maximum strength in this section of the tornado path.  Maximum wind speeds occurred in this area with maximum wind speeds estimated around 160-170 mph.  The maximum path width was estimated to be around 150 yards, with a total path length around 3 miles.  However, the tornado showed signs of lifting slightly off the ground several times along its path.

The tornado was on the ground intermittently as it moved to the east northeast.  It struck a single house on State Road 1978, doing F2 damage.  It crossed Georgetown Road and struck another subdivision near Citation Boulevard, doing F1 to F2 damage.  It continued for a short distance into a field, and then lifted.

In addition to trees being downed by straight-line winds south of the tornado path near the subdivision, winds in excess of 80 mph also peeled roofs off of several warehouses in an industrial park just west of Georgetown Road and south of Capstone Drive.  The damaging winds continued east northeast to the Interstate 64 corridor and Newtown Pike.  The storm then moved through several horse farms toppling numerous trees and partially peeling off the roofs of some horse barns, one of which had 50 horses housed.  None of the horses were harmed.

Five non-life-threatening injuries were reported with the storm.


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