Communities devastated in Livingston County
Even with several days warning from the National Weather Service no one could predict the devastation that hit parts of Illinois and Kentucky on Sunday afternoon. Forecasters began predicting last week that there was the possibility of severe weather in our area.
Illinois took the brunt of several tornadoes across the state including Brookport just across the river from Paducah. Lives were lost and more than 50 homes destroyed. Although no lives were lost in Kentucky, parts of Livingston County were also affected.
Just outside Smithland in two separate communities several families lost everything they have. The hardest hit areas were Paradise Road, where two homes sitting on a hill overlooking a beautiful valley were destroyed and Mount Zion Road where several homes were also severely damaged.
On Paradise Road the home of Hugh Doyle Doom was destroyed and debris from other homes littered his property. Next-door to Mr. Doom nothing remains of the home of Andrea Borders. Ms. Borders home was destroyed including three porches, two sheds and debris cover her property. Ms. Borders said she had to cats that were missing but she found her bag containing all her medicine which was a blessing to her.
Ms. Borders recently lost her husband and now her home is going." We loved it here,” she said," on sunny days we would sit in our swing on the porch in the sun and just enjoy the day." Although Ms. Borders has insurance she is not sure at this time if she will rebuild or just sell the property.
On Mount Zion Road at the home of David Haley the destruction was not as severe but still caused a large amount of damage to his and several other homes again on a hill. Mr. Haley took me through what was left of his home to see the damage. An outbuilding on his property had a large hole where something, he wasn't sure what, went through the front wall and totally blew out the back wall.
Mr. Haley and his nephew had just finished replacing gutters and new insulation in the part of the home that was destroyed. A gaping hole was visible through what was Mr. Haley's bedroom. Thankfully he was not at home at the time the storm hit. Across the road from Mr. Haley a mobile home was blown off its foundation and is a total loss.
Next-door, at the home of Bob and Jeannie Richardson, Mr. Haley sister, a large tree was blown down crushing the roof and destroying the bedroom, bathroom and hall and sucked the windows out of the second bedroom. Amazingly, Halloween decorations still hang on a tree outside the home.
Bob Richardson said," we should have been in Arizona. We usually are there by now. We are just thankful the tree didn't take out our motorhome and our rental car. Our car was totaled last week in an accident.”
On the bright side of this disaster, everyone I talked to had insurance and was just waiting to file claims and make decisions on where to go from here.