Weekend Storms Cause Damage in Ky. and Ala.

January 3, 2022

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP–Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency on Saturday as powerful storms ripped through the state causing flash floods, power outages and property damage, including from a possible tornado in Hopkinsville.

There were no immediate reports of any injuries or deaths. The storms come just three weeks after deadly tornadoes tore through the region, killing more than 90 people in five states, including 77 in Kentucky.

As of Saturday night, much of Kentucky and West Virginia were under a flood warning. Portions of eastern Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were under a tornado watch.

The Kentucky governor’s office reported flash flooding had caused water rescues and many road closures in the southern and central portions of the state.

Heavy rains were expected to continue throughout the day in much of Kentucky, followed by a cold front, which could complicate emergency response efforts.

In the southwestern Kentucky town of Hopkinsville, several downtown businesses were damaged by a possible tornado. WTVF-TV reported a Family Dollar store had been largely destroyed and the roof of a Marathon gas station had blown into a park across the street. Other nearby buildings had roof damage and there were many downed power lines, the station reported.

Another possible tornado touchdown occurred in Taylor County, in the middle of the state, where a number of homes were damaged, according to the governor’s office.

“It is devastating that we are once again experiencing severe weather just weeks after the deadly tornadoes hit Western Kentucky. Sadly, some counties have been affected by both of these events,” Beshear said in a statement.

The path of destruction extended into Alabama. Authorities closed roads in Hazel Green, Alabama, after power lines came down and homes suffered damage. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office shared photos online including one of a snapped power pole.

The weather also caused damage to businesses in Hazel Green, including a Walmart, local news outlets reported. The community is located about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of Huntsville. Huntsville Utilities said service has been restored to parts of Hazel Green, but work continues with multiple downed power poles in the area.

The same system brought down trees in the nearby town of Triana, roughly 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Huntsville. Mayor Mary Caudle told WAFF-TV that about 280 residents took cover in a storm shelter Saturday night.

Madison, Morgan Cullman, Marshall, Jackson, DeKalb, Limestone, Franklin and Lawrence counties remain under a tornado watch until 2 a.m.

Meanwhile, winter returned to Alabama on Sunday, and it may bring some snow along with it. Accumulations will be possible, up to an inch or more in some areas, weather forecasters said.

Temperatures are expected to plummet after a cold front moves through, and the blast of arctic air combined with straggling rain showers from the departing weather system could bring a wintry mix of precipitation, according to forecasters. Motorists were urged to use caution as the snow could lead to icy patches on roads overnight.

The National Weather Service has issued winter weather advisories for all of north and parts of north-central Alabama. They will be in effect from 6 p.m. through 3 a.m. Monday.

About the photo: Terry Thornton, left, owner of Thornton Furniture in Bowling Green, Ky., talks with a cleanup crew about damage to his store after a storm Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. Thornton said when the warnings sounded, everyone in the store got into an interior closet and no one was injured. (AP Photo/James Kenney)

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