Commonwealth Journal

January 1, 2014

Windy City: Twisters ravaged Ferguson during 2013

by Bill Mardis
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

The normally calm, peaceful town of Ferguson in 2013 grabbed the title of “Windy City” from Chicago, the megalopolis that has claimed the nickname since 1876.
No longer can the northern Illinois city brag about brisk breezes whipping among its skyscrapers. The 5th-class city of Ferguson, with its tallest building a two-story, had two tornadoes in 2013, an EF-0 twister on January 30 and an EF-1 on March 24. This is not a typographical error. Ferguson was struck with two –– as in one and then another –– tornadoes last year.
That makes it official. Mayor Allen Dobb’s town, cuddling on the southeast side of Somerset, is really a “Windy City.” An EF-0 tornado, at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, January 30, had peak gusts between 65 and 75 mph, and an EF-1 tornado, at 5:40 p.m. Sunday, March 24, had gusts up to 100 mph. That kind of wind will blow your hat off and upend your umbrella.
Actually, Chicago’s “Windy City” status is braggadocio. Chicago is not significantly windier than any other U.S. city.
Milton, Massachusetts is the nation’s windiest city. For example, the average annual wind speed of Chicago is 10.3 mph; Milton, 15.4 mph; Boston, 12.4 mph; New York City in Central Park, 9.3 mph; and Los Angeles, 7.5 mph.
Average wind speed in Ferguson is not available. However, talking gusts of 65, 75 and 100 mph measured by the  National Weather Service will “blow away” bloated claims by other impostors.
Besides that, the January 30 tornado in Ferguson is the first documented tornado to occur during the month of January in the National Weather Service, Jackson, Ky., forecast area. Both Ferguson tornados, traveling southwest to northeast, obviously started forming over Lake Cumberland. The January twister is something Lake Michigan can’t spout about.
The tornado on January 30 touched down near the end of the runway of the Lake Cumberland Regional Airport. The twister traveled a half mile through a residential area crossing Murphy Avenue near the Gover Lane intersection. 
Some roof and siding damage was noted to structures along the path. Several trees were also downed along the path and one tree fell across and destroyed a shed. The twister, 150 yards wide, traveled about a half mile on the ground, according to the National Weather Service at Jackson.
The tornado on March 24 touched down on Waddle Street. It traveled about 700 yards, destroyed a warehouse building, damaged several roofs and knocked down trees. Damage path was 80 yards wide and the tornado was on the ground for about 700 yards.