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Three tornadoes ripped through South Louisville Wednesday night, killing one person and displacing others

Utility trucks are lined up on a road, downed power lines, torn up trees and other storm debris is visible nearby.
Ryland Barton
/
LPM
At the peak of the storm, Natasha Collins, an LG&E spokesperson, said that 32,000 people across Kentucky had lost power, the majority of whom were concentrated in the Louisville area.

Three EF-1 tornadoes touched down in Louisville Wednesday night, destroying at least one apartment building and killing one man. The storms caused damage to trees, buildings, and power lines, leaving dozens of Louisvillians displaced and tens of thousands without power.

Billy Corum, 30, was walking his dog near his home when high winds uprooted a tree, striking him on the head near Louisville’s Pleasure Ridge Park neighborhood. A fourth tornado was also confirmed in Meade County.

Two of the tornadoes that came through Louisville hit the Newburg area, reaching speeds of 90 and 95 miles per hour respectively. The tornado in PRP, which was on the high-end of the EF-1 designation, reached about 110 miles per hour. It ripped the roof off of the Oaks at St. Andrews apartment building, leaving dozens displaced. The Red Cross is on the scene offering shelter.

Last week, the South and Midwest were hit hardby tornadoes and storms, killing at least 32 people. And last month, deadly, damaging high-speed winds and storms tore through Kentucky as well.

“We had 78 mile-per-hour winds at Ali International [Airport]. March 3rd, we had 79 miles per hour,” said John Gordon, a meteorologist at Louisville’s National Weather Service office. “I’ve never seen a windier year ever, ever in my life than this winter and going into spring.”

NWS teams continued to survey the damage Thursday to determine how many tornadoes there were and their characteristics. They have yet to survey Indiana or Louisville’s East End. Most of the damage was concentrated on the south and southwestern sides of the city, Mayor Craig Greenberg said at a press briefing Wednesday night.

A tornado watch was issued for Jefferson County at 5:18 p.m. Wednesday, but the tornadoes touched down in south Louisville just after 5 p.m., a spokesman for Mayor Greenberg’s office said.

Thousands of people remain without power Thursday afternoon as Louisville Gas & Electric crews work to fix power lines. At the peak, Natasha Collins, an LG&E spokeswoman, said that 32,000 people across Kentucky had lost power, the majority of whom were concentrated in the Louisville area. According to Collins, LG&E received about 250 reports of downed power lines as of Thursday morning. She estimated most people should have their power restored by 11 p.m. Friday.

Sylvia is the Capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio, a collaboration including Louisville Public Media, WEKU-Richmond, WKU Public Radio and WKMS-Murray. Email her at sgoodman@lpm.org.