Storm damage in Lewis County from straight line winds

Lewis County Emergency Management Director George Sparks (right) and Ken Haydu, Meteorologist in Charge with the National Weather Service Office in Wilmington, Ohio, survey storm damage at Mt. Zion Ridge on Friday. - Dennis Brown Photo

Lewis County Emergency Management Director George Sparks (right) and Ken Haydu, Meteorologist in Charge with the National Weather Service Office in Wilmington, Ohio, survey storm damage at Mt. Zion Ridge on Friday. – Dennis Brown Photo

A damage survey completed Friday at several locations in Lewis County found that damage to homes, barns, outbuildings and trees was the result of non-tornadic or straight line winds.
The survey covered many areas including Buck Lick Branch, Ky. Rt. 989 and Mt. Zion Ridge and was conducted by Ken Haydu, the Meteorologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service Office in Wilmington, Ohio.
National Weather Service personnel have been touring storm-damaged counties in their coverage area to match up damage and witness reports with what was recorded on their equipment during the storm event.
The storm spawned at least six tornadoes, all in Ohio. Extensive damage was also reported in the region as the result of straight line winds.
Utilizing all of the available data the meteorologists make a determination as to what weather event caused the damages.
Haydu and Lewis County Emergency Management Director George Sparks toured the hardest hit areas during a storm that passed through the area about 8:00 a.m. Wednesday.
The survey revealed multiple swaths of enhanced thunderstorm wind damage with damage patterns consistent with non-tornadic winds, according to Haydu.
“Much of this damage was to home and outbuilding roofing and widespread tree damage,” Haydu said. “Nearly all damage surveyed displayed non-convergent patterns indicative of straight line winds.”
Haydu said the damage was consistent with wind speeds of 80 to 90 mph in all surveyed areas with many hardwood and softwood trees snapped or uprooted. Most roof damages consisted of roofing material fully or partially removed and several barns and outbuildings were completely destroyed which is consistent with winds in this range.
One home on Buck Lick Branch Road near Burtonville lost the roof and the structure received damage throughout in the storm and another home, a short distance away, was extensively damaged.
“Straight line winds many times consist of winds 80 to 100 mph, that’s equivalent to an EF-1 or EF-0 tornado. Eighty percent of all tornados fall into that category,” he said.
Sparks said the most heavily wind damaged areas stretched from the Fleming County line to Buck Lick Branch and Mt. Zion Ridge.
“One farm on Ky. Rt. 989 near Burtonville, belonging to Franklin Mawk, sustained extensive damage to several buildings as well as large trees,” Sparks said.
“Several other barns in that area were destroyed or heavily damaged,” Sparks said, adding that a silo was damaged beyond repair by the wind.
“I would like to commend the residents of that area around Burtonville for being prepared and taking appropriate action before and during the storm,” Sparks said.
Haydu said he would like to thank the support and assistance provided by Sparks and the cooperation of residents in the area.

The NWS Survey for Lewis County contained the following information:
“In Lewis County, several large trees were blown down or uprooted in the western part of the county. Also, a few large very well constructed barns were shifted 6 to 8 feet off their foundations with the opposite walls severely buckled. One of these barns had the roof completely blown off and large sections of the siding missing. All the debris from the above barns was scattered in fields to the east. Several smaller barns in this same area were completely destroyed.

“Numerous trees were down along Buck Lick Branch Road, five miles south-southeast of Tollesboro. Several homes in this neighborhood had minor damage. A brick home had the roof completely blown off.
Interestingly, the only room in this house which did not sustain damage was an interior bathroom. A 2 by 4 from the roof of this house was blown approximately 100 yards to the east, piercing through a bedroom on the front of another brick house. Also, on the front of this same house, a large window facing west was blown
into the house along with the front door. This allowed the wind to enter the house to do further damage. The roof was lifted but not detached. The force of the wind inside the house caused the brick foundation on the north side of the house to bulge and fail over a significant area. Debris from the house and the associated shed was scattered in a field to the east of the house.

“A church on Mount Zion Ridge Road had a storage structure lifted up over the church and into the church cemetery. On Kentucky 989 just
west of Burtonville, the top third of a silo was destroyed and blown to the east toppling onto another structure. Also, two other
barns were destroyed. Wind estimates from the Lewis County damage were between 80 to 90 mph.”

The NWS Event Page for the March 1, 2017, storms may be accessed by clicking HERE.

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