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TIP #590 – FLOODS AND TORNADOES IN KENTUCKY – MANY LOSE THEIR LIVES

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TIP #590 – FLOODS AND TORNADOES IN KENTUCKY – MANY LOSE THEIR LIVES

Posted: 18 May 2006 6:39AM GMT
Classification: Query
Flooding has been rampant in New Hampshire and Massachusetts; Hawaii was recently hit by unusual flooding. In research tips of the past, I have listed many of the natural disasters that impacted Kentucky and took the lives of many of our earlier family members. I wanted to re-visit this again, listing many of the floods and major tornadoes in our Commonwealth. I will be using many reference works, both on and off-line. I don't have access to the names of those who lost their lives, but if your family lived in that area during that time frame and then disappears from all records, it is possible that they died in the floods or storms.

1819: Danville hit by a tornado that devastated parts of the city.

1824: Tornado hit Meade, Breckinridge and Hardin County; destroyed the courthouse at Meade Co

1862: April 12th: “Hurricane” at Paducah; 17 stores, hotels and the Methodist Church un-roofed; 12 people injured. Johnson Co had major flood.

1863: Heavy flooding wash away railroad bridges at Frankfort on 15 Jan.

1884: Flooding hits Paducah, thousands flee. Dayton in Campbell County suffered from flooding, no lives lost.


1890: 27 Mar, Louisville hit after a day of snow and thunderstorms. Death toll in Louisville was estimated to be 76 with over 200 seriously injured. Another tornado hit in southern and western KY with 44 people killed.

1913: Flooding hits Paducah for the second time. Dayton again floods.

1917: Tornadoes broke out across the state and throughout many other states. One tornado proceeded from Tennessee into Kentucky and killed 68 people. Fulton County lost 42 people with other deaths in Hickman, Carlisle and Graves Counties.

1918: Johnson Co had a major flood.

1925: Called the deadliest tornado outbreak in history, 18 March saw tornadoes racing through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana plus four which struck in Kentucky. The storms came in through Tennessee into Allen Co KY about 5 pm and moved through Barren, Monroe and Metcalfe Counties.
Four deaths occurred in and near Scottsville in Allen County; six died at Beaumont in Metcalfe County. The storms took the lives in Jefferson County and Oldham County where seven more people were killed. The storms also hit Marion, Washington, Jessamine, Fayette, Bourbon and Mercer Counties where two people were killed.

1929: Series of floods hit Bell County involving the Yellow Creek Valley in early March with heavy damage. Johnson Co had major flood.

1936: Major flooding in Johnson County.

1937: Great Ohio River Flood. Paducah flooded. 20 inches of rain fell in central Kentucky with the heaviest rains from 17 January to the 23rd. Waters were 30 feet above flood stage. Towns all along the Ohio River; in Louisville 175,000 people were evacuated. People were left without drinking water
and hundreds died. Some records possibly destroyed in Carroll County. Dayton in Powell County suffered from the flooding also. Licking River flooded in Pendleton County weakening the bridge there. Shepherdsville in Bullitt County had a major flood doing heavy damage.

1933: On May 9th, thunderstorms, growing severe, roared through and tornadoes, hail and heavy rain hit Monroe, Adair, Cumberland and Russell Counties. Tompkinsville, in Monroe County, had destroyed 60 homes and 17 dead. 36 deaths were reported in Kentucky with fatalities also in TN.

1939: Rowan Co: Shortly after midnight on 4 July, flash flood roared through Morehead, drowning 25 people. This also effected Breathitt County when a storm raged for 3 hours dumping up to 10 inches of rain. Johnson County suffered from major flooding.

1942: March 16th saw an outbreak of severe storms and tornadoes in the south and midwest areas of Kentucky. One in Muhlenberg County killed 11. The storm continued through Grayson, Hardin and Nelson Counties with a total of 24
deaths.

1948: Major flooding of the Licking River in Pendleton County.

1955: Johnson County suffers from major flooding.

1957: In late January heavy rains spread over eastern Kentucky and parts of Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Up to 9 inches of rain fell along the headwaters of Big Sandy, Kentucky and the Cumberland River. Johnson County suffers from major flooding.

1962: Flood at Clay City in Powell County along the Red River. Johnson County suffers from major flooding.

1963: Johnson County suffers from major flooding.

1964: Licking River in Pendleton County flooding, doing damage.

1974: A horrific outbreak of tornadoes occurred in Kentucky and 12 other states. In Kentucky alone, 26 tornadoes were reported which killed 77 people. Winds were clocked at 260 miles per hour; Meade County was hit hard, Louisville was in the path along with Boyle, Clinton, Franklin, Nelson, Madison, Hardin, Simpson and Warren Co. Pulaski County had three tornadoes touch down.

1976: Flood in Bell County destroyed some historical records.

1977: Johnson County suffers from major flooding.

1988: Tornado hit in May at Middlesborough which damaged 38 businesses, 24 homes and 2 churches. One killed, 16 injured.

I am aware that there were other severe storms and flooding in Kentucky throughout it's history and I have only included some of the major ones that I could find reference to and many past 1988.

© Copyright 18 May 2006, Sandra K.Gorin

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