Tornadoes wreak havoc in Kentucky and the Southeast


Wreckage from the Tornadoes

The weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s are the most festive and joyous weeks of the year, with families staying at home and celebrating the holidays together. This was the expected norm- calm and family time. However, what certainly wasn’t common was the seven tornadoes raging throughout the Southeast, causing chaos and terror, especially in Kentucky. New Year’s Day saw heavy storms and an onslaught of rain, with hundreds and thousands of relief workers relentlessly trying to rescue people.

Three weeks earlier, numerous tornadoes and harsh weather swept across Kentucky and the Southeast of the United States, bringing trepidation and destruction incredibly close to Christmas. Recently, on January 1, 2022, Kentucky governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency. This announcement came after a possible tornado in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, brought torrents of rain and storms to the area. This natural disaster left power outages, flash floods, and property damages in its wake after the already horrifying prior tornadoes that killed 90 people in five states, 77 of these deaths occurring in Kentucky. In a statement, Governor Beshear commented, “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”. More than 1,000 buildings were ruined due to the recent wave of tornadoes, making this Kentucky’s worst tornado outbreak to date.

Additionally, numerous water rescues were required in Green County, Kentucky, as the water levels rose. Pike County and Barren County also required multiple rescues, as the water was so high that it could risk entering homes and damage them internally. Though Kentucky is the main state affected by these tornadoes, Alabama also suffered as well. In Hazel Green, Alabama, the tornadoes brought a flood of water, which caused damaged power lines, wrecked homes, and closed roads. Cities close to Hazel Green, such as Triana, also recorded damage, including toppled trees. Thirty-one counties in Kentucky were impacted by the storms, with the most damage occurring in Pike County, where 1,190 power outages were recorded.

Furthermore, there were reports of at least seven landslides and washouts, but the number of deaths and injuries has yet to be confirmed. Concerns about the cold weather surfaced since it could complicate the rescue efforts, especially being so close to when the disaster struck. Winter weather advisories have also been cautioned for several Kentuckian counties, where up to 1 inch of snow is possible. 

Though the holiday season certainly brings joy and excitement to many, it brought a wake of destruction instead to states in the Southeast, primarily Kentucky. There is yet to be confirmation about more details in the recent tornadoes, but hopefully, no deaths and injuries have occurred. While the storms have ruined many people’s Christmas and New Year’s, the upcoming winter weather could make things more hectic, as snow pummels onto the water-stained grounds of Kentucky and other states.