Commonwealth Journal

January 31, 2013

Ferguson tornado was first recorded in January by Jackson, Ky., National Weather Service

By HEATHER TOMLINSON
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

A tornado that moved through Ferguson early Wednesday is the first to be recorded in January by the National Weather Service, based in Jackson, Ky.
“Ferguson made history,” said Captain James Kriege, with the Ferguson Fire Department, on Wednesday. 
Kriege met with a storm damage team from the National Weather Service Wednesday afternoon to survey the damage left in the wake of a strong storm system that moved through the area after 6 a.m. Wednesday.
While other areas in the county reported mostly downed trees and electric outages — a result of strong straight-line winds, most likely — Ferguson saw a concentrated path of damage to both trees and homes that left him thinking the community may have seen a tornado.
Kriege’s hunch was right, and early Wednesday evening the NWS released preliminary results confirming that an EF-0 tornado had touched down. 
An EF-0 tornado packs the weakest punch, according to the Enhanced Fujita scale, which categorizes tornado strength by peak wind speeds and amount of damage caused. Wednesday’s tornado had peak winds estimated at 65 to 75 mph, and its path length was estimated to be about half of a mile. 
According to the report filed by the NWS, the tornado touched down near the end of the Lake Cumberland Regional Airport runway and took a northeastern path onto the Hyden Lane area and onto Ky. 3057. 
Downed trees and some structural damage suggests the tornado at least hit the intersection of Ky. 3057 and Murphy Avenue. 
“Some roof and siding damage was noted to structures along the path,” stated the NWS report. “Several trees were also downed along the path and one tree fell across and destroyed a shed.”
Several large trees were downed just northeast of the Ky. 3057-Murphy Avenue intersection on Gover Lane, and one building there had some roof damage as well. 
The damage width of the tornado was estimated to be about 150 yards, according to the report. 
Kriege said he and the NWS team surveyed the path along its route, speaking with residents who were home when the twister swept through. He said they described a frightening few minutes during which the winds howled and downed trees, and sent shingles and siding flying.
“It was scary,” Kriege said.
The tornado stayed on the ground for about a minute, according to the NWS report. 
The NWS storm damage team thanked Kriege and his department for their assistance with the survey.
Wednesday’s storm system spawned four tornadoes in Kentucky, including the Ferguson twister. 
An EF-0 tornado touched down in Marion County and damaged some homes and knocked a mobile home from its foundation. An EF-2 tornado ripped the roof off of a church in Muhlenberg County, and an EF-2 tornado destroyed barns and a business in Warren County.