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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Four Tornadoes Hit Kentucky Hit During Storm System (ContributorNetwork)

The National Weather Service has now confirmed that at least four different tornadoes touched down in Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday evening, with a fifth striking in Indiana. No injuries were reported.

One of the tornadoes struck iconic Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby is held each year. Concern for the stabled horses led many to brave the weather and make sure the animals were safe. Several barns on the property sustained damage, which led to some of the horses being set free to wander the Downs, but they were eventually rounded up and no injuries to the animals were reported.

The number of tornadoes and the ensuing damage has been compared to activity normally seen in the Gulf area. Media outlets and residents were also quick to compare Wednesday's storms with the much larger tornado that hit the area in 1974.

Here are some numbers related to the Louisville tornadoes.

EF2: The strongest of Wednesday night's tornadoes is believed to only have been a medium-strength funnel according to guidelines. The wind speed of this twister is believed to have been approximately 115 miles per hour. The path of this tornado was measured at about 1 mile in length.

EF0: The tornado that hit Churchill Downs was reportedly fairly weak according to guidelines, although the National Weather Service believes it may have picked up a little strength to become an EF1 as it left the area and moved towards Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

EF1: The strength of the other two tornadoes that touched down in Kentucky on Wednesday night. The wind speed of this tornado is thought to have reached between 95-100 miles an hour.

100: The number of stable workers that are in residence at Churchill Downs at any one time.

1,300: The number of horses that were stabled at Churchill Downs when the tornado struck.

136: The number of years Churchill Downs has been in business. Wednesday's tornado was the first to ever strike the property.

1974: The year of Louisville's largest tornado to date. An EF4 that caused massive property damage, including the destruction of 900 homes. It also downed power lines all over the city, as well as causing the deaths of 2 people and the injuries of 207 more.

25: The number of crew members that Louisville Gas and Electric has assigned to deal with all the downed power lines.

7,600: The number of people without power in Jefferson County, which includes Louisville, after Wednesday's storms.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and former freelance writer based in Michigan with a lifelong interest in politics and community issues.

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