On Friday, March 2, the Midwest and South were hammered with severe storms and very strong tornadoes. In Kentucky alone, 23 people were killed as a result of those storms. The following photos are from a small community in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. That Friday, an EF3 tornado packing winds of 160mph touched down in this little town. The tornado jumped around, leveling some houses and businesses while leaving others nearby untouched. Then down the road it would do the same thing again. It swept through three Kentucky counties and then crossed into West Virginia.
Several of us spent the past three days in this small town helping with recovery efforts. Many people literally lost everything and numerous businesses were destroyed. The elementary and middle schools were so badly damaged that they will have to be torn down and rebuilt. These photos only scratch the surface, but will give you an idea of the destructive power of the storms. What you won't see in the pictures are the huge numbers of people who were working to stabilize the town - utility crews, fire/rescue, law enforcement, National Guard, Red Cross, many different agencies, and lots of volunteers.
The only thing that prevented this building from going over the hill were the trees it fell against.
The tree that fell on this car was not small nor was it rotten.
Trees were snapped like match sticks and entire hillsides had trees leveled. The trees were pulled up by the roots.
The debris field from the tornado was unreal. Everywhere we looked there was stuff covering the ground, the hillsides, and in the standing trees. Insulation from the buildings was all over the area and stuck in trees. It looked like it had rained pieces of insulation. Just the clean up of the debris is going to be a massive undertaking.
This used to be the McDonald's sign.
I couldn't bring myself to take photos of most of the destroyed homes, but this upside down mobile home gives you an idea of the power the residents in this town experienced.
Linking to Rural Thursday Blog Hop