The McCracken County Judge/Executive’s office declared a state of emergency Thursday following a confirmed tornado that Kentucky State Police says touched down in west Paducah Thursday morning. The tornado caused damage across five square miles and injured one person. KSP says the injury is non-life-threatening. All first response agencies in McCracken County are on the scene along with Post One officers. The KSP says Mount Zion Preschool Center sustained some damage. There were 40 students inside at the time the storm hit, but no injuries have been reported.McCracken County Sheriff Matt Carter spoke of the serious nature of he tornado at a press conference
“I certainly want to acknowledge and make very clear that the almighty hand of God provided safety to our community...This could have been of an extremely high fatality rate and we’re very fortunate and blessed to report that one minor injury.”
Carter says three homes are totally devastated and about 12 others have minor to moderate damage. The American Red Cross in Paducah has set up a shelter downtown at Broadway United Methodist Church for people affected by the storm.
The National Weather Service is also sending crews Friday to Union County, Henderson County and Carlisle County to determine whether tornadoes there caused the reported damage. Union County Emergency Management Director Greg Noel says severe weather caused one minor injury when a tractor trailer blew onto its side.
Noel says the “funnel clouds” seen in photos online were isolated to crop fields. He says other damages include a barn roof being ripped off, downed power lines and temporary power outages. He also says an outage in Uniontown caused levee pumps to go offline, resulting in minor flooding.
“It could have easily been a lot worse. With the power of it coming through here, we’re extremely blessed," he said.
WPSD-TV and Liam Niemeyer contributed to this report.