EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is part of a publishing partnership between the Richmond Register and Eastern Progress
Madison County was “very fortunate” on Saturday morning, according to Emergency Management Agency Director Dustin Heiser.
Heiser said the county experienced minimal damage and no injuries after a devastating swarm of tornadoes ripped through six U.S. states and the western half of Kentucky and produced strong, straight line winds and heavy rain locally.
“Compared to what are neighbors to the west our experiencing right now, I believe Madison County fared pretty well during the storms last night and early this morning,” Heiser said on Saturday.
Governor Andy Beshear addressed the devastation left by four tornados, one of which stayed on the ground for more than 200 miles after touching down, on Saturday during a press conference.
One of the most devastated areas of the state was the city of Mayfield, where a tornado hit the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory Friday night while 110 people were working.
The governor said Saturday at least 70 people were killed in the destruction of the tornado and predicted the death toll would exceed 100 before the day was over.
In Madison County, Heiser said at least 500 residents throughout the county were without power on Saturday and emergency crews responded to numerous reports of downed power lines, utility poles, and trees.
Roads were flooded and high standing water was reported in numerous areas throughout the county including the Richmond Centre, Lancaster Avenue, Eastern Bypass, and Walnut Meadow Road.
According to Heiser, first responders rescued a trapped motorist on Four Mile and Hunter Lane after their vehicle was submerged in floodwaters.
Trees blocked several roadways on Saturday morning, including Maple Grove Road.
Residents of Kirksville and Poosey Ridge experienced water issues due to power outages.
Heiser said EMA crews were monitoring the storms and weather patterns throughout the night and early morning hours of Friday and Saturday.
“It really wasn’t until 3 a.m. that we started to see some strong storms in the area,” he added.
Both Heiser and Madison County EMA Deputy Director Jennifer Hitch said there were no indications that a tornado was present in the county.
“We were pretty lucky,” Hitch said on Saturday. “We have no reports of injuries and just a few reports of damage to some homes.”
One residence in Kirksville sustained heavy damage from the storms.
The roof was completely off the home and nearby barns were reduced to rubble.
Power lines in the area of Coy’s Curve in Kirksville were snapped in half and blocking the roadway.
Utility crews were working in the area on Saturday.
In Poosey Ridge, a barn had also collapsed with debris in the roadway.
Heiser said EMA was out in those areas assessing the damage on Saturday.
“We did experience some damage, blocked roads and some flooding, but nothing I would characterize as atypical compared to any other severe thunderstorm,” Heiser said. “It was nothing like what our neighbors to the west are experiencing right now.”
On Saturday, Heiser was traveling to Mayfield to assist in search and rescue and emergency management operations as part of a team from Lexington.
As clean-up continues throughout the county, Hitch said the EMA is requesting people remain cautious when traveling in areas with downed trees, power lines or flooding.