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State of emergency declared in Shelby

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Shelby pounded by 24-hour siege of storms

By The Staff

After a harrowing 24 hours of storms, high winds and flooding, Governor Steve Beshear today activated the Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center and declared a State of Emergency for Pike and Shelby counties.

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The declaration comes after the siege of storms wreck havoc in Shelby County—downed trees and power lines, house fires from lightning strikes, barns destroyed, people stranded in the cars on flooded roads, and nearly 2,000 people without power.

Flash flooding was part of the problem Saturday night, but air-to-ground lightning was prevalent in the eastern and southern areas.

As of Monday afternoon, the children's department of the Shelby County Public Library remained closed because of water and sewage backup caused by Saturday evening's storm. The library expects to reopen on Tuesday, but  the entrance to this area will be through the Hudson Room entrance off of Washington Street.

Elsewhere around the county, residents are picking up pieces and assessing damage for damaged corn and tobacco crops, destroyed buildings and toppled trees that in some cases remained on roofs.

The weekend's weather came in two bursts that had significantly different outcomes.

On Saturday morning, strong winds, and what was at first thought to be perhaps even a small tornado, struck on the northwest side of Shelbyville, along Eminence Pike, Cropper Road and Vigo Road.

Trees were downed, roads were blocked, forcing emergency crews to clear them.

Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Paul Whitman said the National Weather Service has made an official determination of the storm.

“Joe (NWS Meteorologist Joe Sullivan) has determined that we had a microburst,” he said. “The best visual was in Spring Oaks. On one side of the street, and then the other side. Clock wise pattern and on the other side of the street  it went the other way.”

Sullivan said the powerful microburst occurred early Saturday morning as a severe thunderstorm rolled across Shelby County, knocking down numerous trees across the county and causing several power outages early Saturday morning.

“Based on the size and types of trees down, some spots likely saw speeds as high as 85 to 90 mph,” he said.

 

 Trees also were reported down around Simpsonville, too, but in the Boone Station area of Shelbyville trees were down in neighborhoods, a chimney was toppled and some roofs were damaged.

Residents reported on The Sentinel-News' Facebook page that they had lost old and large trees in their yards -- including along Main Street -- and power was out to hundreds of  homes from just west of Shelbyville and across the city and out the Cropper Road area.

Power was restored and much debris had been removed when the second series of severe storms arrived around 5:30 p.m. Henry County and Oldham County also had been hit hard by a series of thunderstorms.