Western Kentucky Tornadoes of 3 January, 2000

Total tornado damage was around 70 million dollars, and 22 persons were injured. View a new radar loop of the event (file size: 1.6 MB).

Two F-3 tornadoes struck northwest Kentucky late in the afternoon of January 3. Owensboro, Kentucky sustained the most severe damage and the greatest number of injuries. Revised damage figures now show about 100 homes were destroyed, another 700 received major damage, and a total of roughly 2,000 homes received at least minor damage. About 18 persons were injured. The most seriously injured person received broken vertebrae and multiple lacerations.

Owensboro Tornado Damage Photos

Click on pictures for full size (photos courtesy of Rick Shanklin, NWS Paducah).

tornado damage (107686 bytes)tornado damage photo (59696 bytes)tornado damage photo (86170 bytes)tor damage photo (73552 bytes)

The other F-3 tornado occurred about midway between Paducah and Owensboro, in the counties of Crittenden and Webster. The Crittenden/Webster County tornado occurred between 3 and 3:30 P.M., followed by the Owensboro tornado shortly after 4 P.M. CST. The path of the Crittenden/Webster County tornado was about 15 miles long and stretched from Crayne to Diamond. Both Crayne and Diamond sustained severe damage, with around 100 homes damaged or destroyed there. There were just a handful of injuries in this sparsely populated area.

Crittenden/Webster County Damage Photos

Collapsed housedebris from a damaged buildinga destroyed structureA severely damaged home

Radar Images

View a radar loop for the entire event (caution: file size is 1.6 MB, so download time may be lengthy)

radar reflectivity of storm (36159 bytes)radar doppler image of tornado (46462 bytes)The first two radar images  were produced by the Paducah doppler radar at 3:05 P.M. CST, just a few minutes before the tornado touched down in the community of Crayne in Crittenden County. Click on images for full size. The left image is a base reflectivity image taken at the 1.5 degree elevation angle of the radar. The tornadic cell is observed about 30 miles northeast of Paducah in western Crittenden County. Another severe thunderstorm cell along the line is visible over extreme northwest Tennessee, about 70 miles southwest of Paducah. Movement of all the storm cells was northeast at 60 MPH. The right photo is a close-up storm relative motion image of the Crittenden County storm at the lowest elevation angle of the radar. 

radar image (51675 bytes)Ten minutes later, at 3:15 P.M. CST, the rotation in the thunderstorm showed up much more clearly. The storm relative motion image from the lowest elevation angle of the radar is shown below. By this time, the tornado was on the ground, just a few miles southwest of Shady Grove. Green or "cool" colors represent air motion toward the radar, while red colors represent motion away from the radar. Where a couplet of red and green colors exist, rotation is frequently present. The purple area represents regions where the radar is sensing precipitation, but is unable to determine whether motion is toward or away from the radar.

radar image (39760 bytes)The last radar image is a storm relative motion image of the Owensboro storm, taken at 4:05 P.M., just one minute before the tornado touchdown. The radar is at its lowest elevation angle. Notice the apparent rotation just entering Owensboro from the southwest.


Damage survey reports (issued as Public Information Statements) are available for the the following events that also occurred on January 3:

Cape Girardeau County, MO wind event Marion/Carbondale, IL wind event
Owensboro, KY Tornado Crittenden/Webster Co., KY Tornado

Evansville, IN wind event

Flash flooding was also a major concern with this system. Flash flooding resulted in widespread road closures and bridge washouts in Carlisle County of west Kentucky, where a State of Emergency was declared. Other major flash flooding situations were reported from around Henderson, Kentucky to Paducah and Madisonville, KY. Rainfall amounts averaged from 4 to 8 inches in 24 hours in these areas.










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