Storms that moved through on Sunday left damage in several areas of the county.
Chuck Greif, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said an EF1 tornado, with winds of 95 mph, did touch down in Greasy Creek, just “a couple miles” from the Harlan County line in the Pine Mountain area.
“The core of the storm went right over Putney,” said Greif. “It was pretty vicious. That’s the same storm that actually dropped softball-sized hail in parts of Clay County. The northern part of your county got the brunt — the worse part of the storm.”
Greif said along with the severe thunderstorms there were pockets of high wind and some of the damage to trees in the county could have been a result of “downbursts.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) web page, a downburst is a strong downdraft which causes damaging winds on or near the ground. Cold air begins to descend from the middle and upper levels of a thunderstorm, falling at speeds of less than 20 miles an hour.
As the colder air strikes the Earth’s surface, it begins to “roll” — much like water as a boat moves through it. As the colder air “rolls” out, it is compressed causing winds to increase dramatically — at times even stronger than tornado winds.
All wind flows into a tornado. Debris is often laying at angles due to the curving of the inflow winds. All wind flows out from a downburst. Debris is often laying in straight lines, hence the term “straight line winds,” parallel to the outward wind flow. Downbursts are much more frequent than tornadoes — in fact, for every one tornado there are approximately 10 downburst damage reports said the NOAA.
During the Sunday storms, power outages were reported late that afternoon and a maximum of 600 Kentucky Utility (KU) customers were without power at 6 p.m. according to Cliff Feltham, media relations manager for KU.
“We had restored everyone except about 90 customers by about 10 p.m. on Sunday and we still had about 30 customers in the Chevrolet and Cawood area without power on Monday,” said Feltham. “All of the outages were storm related, with many of them being tree limbs falling into lines on our system.”
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-573-4510 or on Twitter @Nola_hde