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Storm Rips Through Hopkins; Hospital Loses Power, Damages High School and Skating Rink

 

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HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (3/2/12)—Following harsh storms earlier in the week, Hopkins County and much of western Kentucky experienced yet another bout of even stronger severe weather this afternoon, March 2nd, which caused unfortunate structural damage to several locations in Madisonville, KY. 

As local eyewitnesses report, several funnel clouds and actual tornadoes were spotted across several portions of Hopkins County. As mentioned, however, it seems that northern portions of Madisonville as well as Hanson, KY may have received the worst of the tornadic weather system.

In addition to a variety of structural damage to businesses and homes, many downed trees, power outages, power line damage, and more, both Madisonville-North Hopkins High School (MNHHS) and Madisonville’s well-known SkateWorld skating rink received extensive damage due to strong winds.

As far as SurfKY News could ascertain from direct onsite evidence and photos taken by area citizens at the high school (see photo above and slideshow), much of the roofing above the band practice area and agriculture hall/area was torn away. Though the roof was all but completely destroyed due to extremely strong winds, it is unclear if the interior of the building saw comparable losses.

Though a variety of local businesses suffered wind damages, including places like Lowe’s, Kroger’s, Advanced Auto, and more, well-known Madisonville skating rink, SkateWorld, was hit hard. Specifically, nearly all the roof was torn away from structure and much of the insides were damaged as well. Photos of the business taken by area citizens are attached. At this time, traffic in this area is slow as many are simply there to view the unfortunate loss.

At this time, power is slowly being restored to several portions of the county, including Madisonville. Additionally, city and county workers, as well as first responders and law enforcement, are working to clear debris and to keep the roadways safe.

"At this time, the disruption of two KU supply lines has left Trover's Regional Medical Center and hospital without power in Madisonville," says Madisonville Mayor David Jackson. "City employees have restored around 30 percent of power to Madisonville residents, but we don't have a set time-frame for bringing power back 100 percent."

Though an official statement has yet to be released by the National Weather Service in Paducah, KY, Mayor Jackson says that the damages to the Madisonville, most of which he says are "straight line" damages, seem to be indicative of a tornado. 

Though weather conditions still have the possibility to produce dangerous conditions, it is believed that new systems will remain south of our region. However, those driving should take caution as some debris is present on roadways. Also, high water and minor flooding may cause hydroplaning in some areas.

At this time, minor accidents have been reported, yet it seems that none have been fatal.

As new information is released, look to SurfKY News for the latest updates. 

Click the slideshow player attached below to see a variety of photos taken by both SurfKY News reporters and local citizens. Click here to see the set of photos in a larger format via Flickr. The main photo, which displays the damage to MNHHS, was taken via phone by Jeff Harp of Focus Photography. If you would like to send in your photos, do so via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Luke Short
SurfKY News

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