Tornado Live Updates: Kentucky Governor Details Deaths, Recovery Efforts
Amy Moore was woken up at her Bowling Green, Ky., Home early Saturday morning by a litany of cowbell-like alerts going off on her phone. She woke her husband up and they both got out of bed.
They turned on the television to find out what was going on. “But then WBKO went black, and that’s when I knew something was wrong,” recalls Ms. Moore, 33, who works as a customer service supervisor.
Her husband, Brad, a court security officer for the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, opened the front door to see if he could see the storm, but it was too dark.
What they didn’t know was that a tornado had already hit the heart of Bowling Green, Kentucky’s third largest city. And he was heading for their house on Nutwood Street.
They heard it first – like the whistle of a train, and got closer every second.
They grabbed their dogs, a Husky and an Aussie, and piled into the hallway closet. Ms. Moore wrapped her arms around each dog and Brad threw her body over his.
Almost instantly the windows started to shatter on the outside of the closet.
They heard parts of the roof being sucked up and out, and wood chips and debris began to fall on them. A mini-cyclone of shingles swirled around their room, scratching the walls. And then, silence.
Brad recalled how, still holding his wife in the closet after the noise died down, he cried as he told her how grateful he was that he hadn’t lost her.
When the couple emerged, they found all of their windows blown out and a large torn hole in the middle of their roof. Shingles, pieces of wood and shards of glass litter the ground. But the rest of their house had been spared.
Not everyone at Bowling Green was so lucky.
Several children were among a dozen people killed there, according to a county coroner.
A four month old child was killed about 50 miles from Bowling Green in Bremen, Ky.
All of the children who were killed in Bowling Green “were in residential houses, in residential apartments,” Warren County Coroner Kevin Kirby said in a telephone interview on Sunday afternoon. Mr Kirby declined to specify the number of the dozen children killed in the county, but said the victims represented “a wide range of ages”.
“It’s just sad to lose someone, but it’s really sad to lose a child,” Kirby said. “It’s not supposed to be like that.”
Mike Buchanon, the Warren County executive judge, said at least 500 homes and 100 businesses were destroyed or damaged.
The National Weather Service classified the tornado that struck Bowling Green as an EF-3 tornado, with winds in excess of 150 miles per hour. It was a separate tornado from the one that hit western Kentucky and Arkansas.
A main business district in the center of Bowling Green along Freeway 31-W has been among the hardest hit, with local landmarks like the Cardinal Hotel, a one-story motel demolished. An iconic red concrete cardinal statue in front of the motel was left untouched, now standing guard over piles of wood, roof tarps and pink insulation.
The National Corvette Motorsports Park was also badly damaged, as were several warehouses.
Ms Moore said she considered herself one of the lucky ones as she had family nearby to help her out.
“Going through this changes your life,” Ms. Moore said. “It makes you more humble, more grateful and now more grateful to be here. All other things, it doesn’t matter. Family is what matters.