Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Louisville, KY

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Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Louisville KY
900 AM EDT Fri June 30 2017

...SUMMARY OF TORNADOES IN EAST-CENTRAL KENTUCKY ON MAY 18, 1995...

TORNADO 1...
...Previously documented Mercer County Salvisa F2 tornado increased
in path length to 10 miles into far southern Woodford County...

TORNADO 2...
...Previously documented Jessamine County wind damage reclassified
as high-end F2 tornado with 24-mile path length extending west into
central Mercer County and east into southwest Fayette County...

SUMMARY...
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Louisville worked with
Emergency Management officials in Mercer, Jessamine, Fayette,
Woodford, and Clark counties in Kentucky to perform a detailed
review of a line of thunderstorms on the morning of May 18, 1995.
The line moved through central Kentucky, progressing from Anderson
and Washington counties eastward through Fayette and Madison
counties between 700 and 800 am EDT.

Below is the final update of the facts uncovered. A detailed webpage
with graphics, radar imagery, and environmental data is located at
wwww.weather.gov/lmk/may18_1995_tornadoes. We are using
#JessamineTornado1995 on social media.

Tornado 1...Salvisa F2 Tornado

F Scale Rating:          F2 (F Scale range 113-157 mph)
Estimated Peak Wind:     115 mph
Path Length:             10 miles
Path Width (Max):        125 yards
Fatalities:              0
Injuries:                8

Start Date:              05/18/1995
Start Time:              7:19 AM EDT
Start Location:          Mayo, KY
Start Lat/Lon:           37.90, -84.75

End Date:                05/18/1995
End Time:                7:32 AM EDT
End Location:            Nonesuch, KY
End Lat/Lon:             37.88, -84.93

Within the line of thunderstorms, NWS Doppler radar showed that a
bow echo indicative of intense straight-line winds moved across
western Mercer County. On the north side of the bow, an F2 tornado
occurred in central Mercer County between Mayo and Terapin at
approximately 719 am. It damaged several homes and uprooted trees,
with tornadic wind speeds around 100 mph and a path width of
approximately 125 yards.

As the tornado moved northeast, it hit the north side of Salvisa
producing roof damage to barns and sheds along with extensive tree
damage. Cars were damaged and blown off the road along U.S. 127. The
tornado increased to F2 wind speeds of 115 mph at this point with a
width of 125 yards.

It continued east-northeast between Oregon and Ebenezer with tree
damage and utility poles snapped. The tornado crossed the Kentucky
River into Woodford County and weakened to a F1 tornado with wind
speeds of 85 mph and a width of 75 yards. There was extensive tree
damage in the small community of Nonesuch in far southern Woodford
County along Highway 1965 and Cummins Ferry Road at 732 am. The
tornado lifted at this point with sporadic wind damage downstream
across southern Woodford County. The forward speed of the tornado
was 45 mph over a 10 mile track.

Corrections and Additions to Tornado 1:

1. Path length was increased to 10 miles from Mayo to Nonesuch.
2. Reclassified maximum tornado wind speed to 115 mph (low end F2).
3. Maximum path width was estimated at 125 yards.

Tornado 2...Jessamine County F2 Tornado

F Scale Rating:          F2 (F Scale range 113-157 mph)
Estimated Peak Wind:     145 mph
Path Length:             24 miles
Path Width (Max):        350 yards
Fatalities:              0
Injuries:                At least 30

Start Date:              05/18/1995
Start Time:              7:20 AM EDT
Start Location:          0.5 NW of Mcaffee, KY
Start Lat/Lon:           37.85, -84.86

End Date:                05/18/1995
End Time:                7:47 AM EDT
End Location:            Coletown, KY
End Lat/Lon:             37.93, -84.44

After an extensive review of radar data, witness accounts, photos,
videos, and news articles, the initial tornado touchdown point has
been moved west to about one-half mile northwest of McAffee in
northeast Mercer County. At 720 am edt in McAffee, several homes had
uplifted roofs, a chimney was destroyed, and garage doors collapsed.
Barns and outbuildings were destroyed. Tornadic wind speeds around
100 mph occurred with a width of approximately 125 yards. As the
twister moved east, it blew several cars off of U.S. 127 resulting
in significant damage and several injuries.

The tornado crossed the Kentucky River and moved east into far
southern Woodford County just north of Mundys Landing. Winds of 100
mph knocked down trees along Mundys Landing Road around 727 am edt.
It damaged or destroyed 8 homes with several injuries.

The bow echo quickly raced into Jessamine County. In far southwest
Jessamine County at the intersection of Highway 1268 and 68, seven
horses were killed along with extensive barn and fence damage around
733 am. Tornadic wind speeds of 110 mph occurred with a path width
of approximately 125 yards.

The tornado barely missed Wilmore by less than a mile and continued
east at 55 mph. A combination of eyewitnesses, video, photos, and a
damage analysis was used to reassess the original determination of
severe straight-line winds at West Jessamine County High School. The
debris pattern was consistent with an F2 tornado instead of straight
line winds. Doppler radar showed a definitive cyclonic circulation
in velocity data along the bow echo associated with the tornado. The
tornado hit the high school around 736 am edt based on radar. Wind
speeds were estimated at 145 mph at this location.

The tornado produced extensive structural damage at the high school
with over 2 million dollars in damage and 20 to 30 injuries, one
critical. The tornado occurred as students were arriving at school
on buses. Eleven buses sustained significant damage with their
windows blown out from flying debris. The tobacco barn and
greenhouse for the agriculture program were destroyed and the cattle
barn sustained significant damage. Across Jessamine County, numerous
trees, power poles, barns, and homes sustained considerable damage
from the storm system.

The high school roof was lifted up along with a collapse of the
exterior walls on the top floor. New aerial photos justified
increasing the maximum wind speed to 145 mph with a width of 350
yards. The tornado then hit a strip plaza and Walmart producing
uplift of several roofs and sign damage. Most significant was
numeous wood pallets loaded with mulch and top soil were thrown
and/or moved several yards. Here, winds were estimated at 115 mph
with a width of 175 yards.

The tornado weakened to F1 strength (100 mph) with a width of 125
yards as it struck Tates Creek Trailer Park on the Jessamine-Fayette
County line. There was complete destruction of roofs and walls of
several single and double wide trailers. The tornado crossed into
far southwest Fayette County and lifted in Coletown. Here, several
trees fell or were snapped with winds estimated at 85 mph with a
width of 75 yards. The tornado moved at 55 mph over a 24 mile track.

Although the tornado dissipated at 747 am edt, the bow echo
continued to produce significant straight-line winds. Current Clark
County EMA Director Gary Epperson flew the track of wind damage from
Clark County all the way to the West Virginia state line. The bow
echo produced widespread straight-line wind damage with significant
tree and forest damage.

Corrections and Additions to Tornado 2

1. Max wind speeds increased to 145 mph at West Jessamine High
School.

2. Total path length extended to 24 miles.

3. Tornado now starts in northeast Mercer County, then moves through
far southern Woodford County and northern Jessamine County, then
lifts in far southwest Fayette County.

4. Tornado max width increased to 350 yards at the high school.

5. The starting point of the Jessamine County tornado was near
McAffee in Mercer County.

6. All wind damage east of Coletown to the West Virginia state line
was straight-line wind damage.

The National Weather Service would like to thank Jessamine County
EMA Johnny Adams, former EMA John Carpenter, West Jessamine High
School Athletic Trainer Dean Gary, Clark County EMA Director Gary
Epperson, and NWS Student Volunteer Cody Moore for their help with
this comprehensive forensic meteorology case.

Once again there is a detailed webpage with graphics, radar imagery,
and environmental data at wwww.weather.gov/lmk/may18_1995_tornadoes.

Follow us on Facebook at NWSLouisville and on Twitter at
@NWSLouisville.

$$
JDG/CM



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