June 11, 2009

Two tornadoes struck southern Kentucky on the evening of June 11, 2009.  Strong thunderstorms had developed earlier in the afternoon over southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana, and the storms became more numerous as they moved to the southeast into western and central Kentucky.  Several of the storms had persistent rotation within them, and the National Weather Service received many reports of rotation and a few funnel clouds.  However, as is usually the case, most of the rotation and funnel clouds visible in the storms did not touch down.   Only three tornadoes have been found in the region so far:  an EF0 about midway between Owensboro and Evansville, and the two EF1's presented here.

The first tornado in central Kentucky touched down at 7pm CDT near the Edmonson/Warren county line about six and a half miles south of Brownsville.  It moved to the east-southeast for 18 miles, occasionally lifting off the ground, and ending six and a half miles west of Glasgow.  Maximum wind speeds were around 105mph and the maximum width was about 150 yards.

 track map


Point Damage Estimated Wind Speed
A Touchdown.  Hardwood trees snapped. 95 mph
B  Limbs down, corner of metal roof peeled back. 75 mph
C  Hardwood trees snapped 105mph
D  Path of extensive hardwood tree damage through woods 105mph
E  Three people saw the tornado hit a barn on this farm on US31W, at which point they ran into their home for shelter.  The barn suffered significant roof damage.  On the same farm, a metal roof was slightly peeled back, plastic farm animal shelters were tossed about,  hardwood trees were snapped, and a camper was blown onto its side. 105mph
F  At the intersection of Louisville Road and Oakland-Dixie Highway Road trees were snapped and uprooted, barns were damaged, cornfields were flattened, and a house that was built around 1850 suffered broken windows, a damaged chimney, a destroyed television antenna tower, and several trees fell on the house and in the yard. 105mph
G  Hardwood trees snapped. 105mph
H  Hardwood trees snapped, power lines down on KY 101.  On Rocky Hill School Road a well-defined rotation path could be seen in flattened corn.  Trees were also blown down. 105mph
I  Trees snapped and outbuildings damaged. 95mph
J  Outbuildings and a home damaged. 105mph


The second central Kentucky tornado was also an EF1.  It touched down at 8:01pm CDT in Metcalfe County near the Monroe County line three miles south of Summer Shade.  It traveled to the east-southeast for 1.3 miles, ending one-third of a mile south of Cyclone in Monroe County.  Its maximum winds were 105mph and its maximum width was 150 yards.  Most of the damage with this tornado was found at its touchdown and liftoff points.  At touchdown the tornado uprooted many trees in a wooded area and damaged a metal shed on Harold Paull Road.   When the storm struck KY 163 south of Cyclone it uprooted trees and flattened crops.  On the west side of the highway it caused roof and antenna damage to a home, and across the road it moved a large tobacco barn three feet and damaged a front porch by moving columns nearly a foot to the north and south.

track map



If you would like to send us photographs or video, please feel free to e-mail us.  Thank you!

John Humphress sent us these two videos of the storms.  The first was filmed from a point 4 miles west of Cave City, looking north.  The second was shot from Glasgow facing west.
Cave City video still video still


Here are some captures of the lightning strike in John Humphress's video from Glasgow:

strike strike strike


Photographs (click on the image to see a larger version)

An excellent example of a shelf cloud, which is often a harbinger of strong gusty winds.  Taken by Christine Bewley, looking northwest from Logansport.


The tail end of a shelf cloud, shot by John Lewis in Cave City, looking toward Park City:

John Lewis

Here a shelf cloud approaches Glasgow, as seen by Justin Johnson:

Justin Johnson shelf cloud

It's difficult to tell from a still picture, but this may be a funnel cloud that Porter Brooks saw in Bee Spring:

bee spring

Here is an excellent series of lightning photographs from Paulette Wasylycia and her "cameraman" Tony in Glasgow.  They are still shots taken from video.  Note the "leader" strokes in the first and fourth pictures.  A lightning strike often forms when a leader starts coming down from a thunderstorm and meets with a stroke coming up from an object on the ground.This is why you should never be outside when a thunderstorm is nearby!  If you can hear the thunder, you're in danger of being struck by lightning.

Glasgow lightning Glasgow lightning Glasgow lightning Glasgow lightning

When Trish Lindsey Jaggers of Chalybeate in Edmonson County took this picture, the wall cloud, seen in the center of the photograph, was rotating.


Wade Bell in Crawford County got an excellent view of this shelf cloud:

Wade Bell

Pictures from the post-storm surveys done by the National Weather Service office in Louisville:

nws nws nws nws
nws nws nws nws

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