Communities throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois are contending with high water, hail damage, and downed trees this morning following severe storms that passed through our region last night.
Residents in Beulah in Hopkins County reported a large funnel cloud at about 7:30 p.m., and a large wedge-shaped tornado close to a mile wide was reported in Christian an hour later. Winds of up to 70 miles an hour were recorded near Elkton in Todd County.
UPDATE: The Illinois State Police held a press conference at 10:30 this morning. The National Weather Service's Rick Shanklin addressed the press saying three crews are surveying damage in southern Illinois to get an estimate on the strength of some of the tornadoes that struck the community.
Nearly all of our region is now under a MODERATE to HIGH Risk today.
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch until 7 tonight for all Kentucky counties west of Daviess, McLean, and Muhlenberg. The watch area also includes Alexander, Massac, Pope, Johnson, and Pulaski counties in southernmost Illinois as well as Henry, Obion, Dyer, Lake, and Weakley counties in northwest Tennessee.
The watch is the result of a strong storm system rapidly moving east through our region out of the plains states. This system will also bring high winds gusting up to 40 miles an hour and a chance of large hail.
A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes in the area. Be ready to move to a safe place if threatening weather approaches. Again we have a tornado watch in effect for our region until 7 tonight. We'll keep you updated as the situation develops.
The Paducah Area Chapter of the American Red Cross has opened a temporary shelter for those in need due to flooding at First Baptist Church, 2890 Broadway, Paducah, KY 42001. If you need to seek shelter, bring your medications or other necessary items with you. If you need immediate disaster assistance, please contact American Red Cross at 270-442-3575.
From Keith Todd, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet:
Update at 10:09 am: Floodwaters have shorted out the traffic signal at the I-24/US 60 Exit 4 Interchange in McCracken County. 4-Way stop signs will be put out at this intersection as soon as floodwaters recede. Hickman County reports KY 80 is closed by floodwaters at the 3 mile marker in the Arlington West End area. KY 1628 is closed between the 1 and 3mm in Hickman Co. Motorists should avoid these areas. Also, City of Paducah Parks are closed due to flooding, Live on Broadway canceled.
Update at 8:35 am: Additional counties are now reporting widespread flooding of roadways. Calloway reports flooding at the intersection of KY 94 at KY 1660/Johnny Robertson Road and at several spots along KY 121 in the county. A tree is reported blocking KY 121 in the New Concord area. Trigg County reports water over various highways. Water is over US 68 between the 11 and 12 mile marker. This is near the entrance to Lake Barkley State Park. Hickman County reports KY 58 is CLOSED by floodwaters at the 10 mile marker near Clinton. KY 1820 is CLOSED by floodwaters at the Graves-Hickman County line. Water is over roadways at other locations too numerous to list. Motorists are urged to avoid unnecessary travel. If you do have to travel slow down and use extreme caution.
National Weather Service forecasters say a line of storms moving in out of the west this afternoon will bring a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms, damaging winds, hail, and tornadoes lasting into the evening.