John Burke: Dave Reeves just handed me another report: 6 miles WSW of
Brandenburg, close to Midway, a tornado near US highway 60, so there again.
Bastin: John, could you give us quickly some safety rules, people in
their homes, what they should do?
John Burke: At this time, the best thing to do . . . get your portable
radio, so you can stay tuned to the radio station, head for the basement, SW
corner of the basement. If possible, get under a workbench or some sturdy
piece of furniture. If you have no basement, you head for an inside room
which has walls that are not too far apart, hopefully with enough support
above you that nothing will come down on top of you. Those in mobile homes
and whatnot hopefully can find some shelter outside of the mobile home -
mobile homes are very vulnerable to this type activity. I don't want to get
people overly concerned; I know this excites people to a great extent, but
nevertheless, they should take these reasonable precautions and not get
overly excited, because they will hear it coming - if it did come in their
direction. The noise associated with these is very loud, so they should hear
the noise associated with these storms. But, by all means, I would certainly
suggest heading for shelter, which, as I say, in a basement or an inside
room, during the next 45 minutes to an hour. And, take the radio along so
you can stay on top of this.
Jeff Douglas: All right, Traffic Tracker Gilbert, it's a wild afternoon,
and you are a service of Beef & Boards dinner theater, Simpsonville, where
you dine in elegance and see a Broadway show for one low price. Dick.. .
Dick Gilbert: Well,
we do have a pretty wild and rugged weather picture on our hands here, so be
prepared for it as you are driving. The pavements are wet now throughout the
driving area. I haven't made it out to the extreme northeast corner yet,
but, the rest of the picture has wet pavements all the way, lightning and
gusty winds, and sprinkles and bursts and gusts of rain here and there. So,
watch it, and traffic is starting to slow down as you might expect it would
under these conditions.
Westbound on the Watterson, we have very
heavy traffic it looks like a morning situation. Starting back at
Taylor Boulevard, I'm sorry, at Taylorsville Road, and it's running very
slowly and heavily to the top of the hill as we get over near Poplar Level.
Eastbound, we're tightening up back at Taylor Boulevard, and running heavily
all the way out to Durrett Lane. The southwest. . . I couldn't get out to
into the extreme southwest on Dixie Highway and out in the Pleasure Ridge
Park area. The weather looked a little bit suspicious out there, so you
folks out there will have to be on your own for a little bit. But the Outer
Loop around the Kentucky Turnpike looked pretty good, and Preston is still
doing a nice job - no delays over a
block long at any of the lights there. Southbound on 1-65, starting to slow
down now at the horse barns, running a bit heavily out to the Watterson
interchange. Drive carefully, Dick Gilbert, Skywatch 84.
Douglas: All right, a tornado warning in effect until 5:00
for Metro Louisville tonight. We will continue with music Good and Gold. We
will, of course interrupt for all important weather information.
Jeff Douglas: A lot of people leaving their work now, getting into cars.
And, let me briefly review the weather situation
- there are severe thunderstorm
warnings for a good portion of this area, including metro Louisville and
southern Indiana. But, more importantly, now, we have a tornado warning
which includes all of Metro Louisville and surrounding areas. This is a
warning; it will be in effect until 5:00 tonight, so be on the
lookout, be on guard. We reviewed the rules, the suggestions for what you
should do if you should spot a tornado. It might be a good idea to keep a
lookout. There have been numerous, numerous sightings in and around the area
of tornadoes. Not trying to alarm anyone, but we want you to be aware of the
situation and know that, should something happen, you can take cover. Now,
we are told that tornadoes make a good deal of noise, so you'll probably
hear one if one is around. And, like I said, keep an eye out for tornadoes -
at least until 5:00. We'll have updates until then from the Weather
Bureau and the Weather Service. Alrighty? OK. We'll continue with music from
WHAS and Jeff Douglas, it's 4:25.
Chuck Patyk: Chuck
Patyk, WHAS news. County police report a tornado sighted at Terry and
Greenwood in the southwest section of Jefferson County. They say the tornado
is moving in a path directly north. At this time, people in that area should
take cover immediately. Again, Jefferson County police report a tornado
sighted at Terry and Greenwood, in southwest Jefferson County. People should
take cover at this time. Take a portable radio with you if you can, and keep
posted on the weather. We might, at this point, while we have this tornado
sighted in Metro Louisville, go over some of the safety rules that you can
take at this point to protect yourself from any damage.
In a home, move to a
basement, if possible. The southwest corner is probably the safest - offers
the greatest protection. In a factory, move to an interior section, which
offers the greatest protection. If you're in open country, as you might be
in the southwest part of the county, move away from the tornado if you sight
it, at a path at right angles to the tornado. If there's no time to escape
from the winds, lie flat in the nearest depression, such as a ditch or
Jeff Douglas: Let's see what it looks like from the air with our Traffic
Tracker Dick Gilbert - he is a service of Louisville Trust Bank. Dick...
Gilbert: Well, I'm out over Oxmoor shopping center now, at the Watterson
and Shelbyville Road, and checking out the eastern quadrant here. Flashes of
lightning now and then, and there's light rain on the bubble. All of the
pavements are wet. Traffic is very heavy, and it has slowed down
significantly, as you might expect under these conditions. The Watterson,
for example, is already very heavy, both east and westbound. Westbound, it
looks like a morning situation - we're tightening at Taylorsville Road, and
it's running rather slowly westbound all the way over into the Poplar Level
area. Let's see here. . . I don't actually physically see any tornado
activity at the moment, but it does look highly suspicious down there beyond
the Iroquois Park area and out in the southwest. So, that appears to be the
area that's affected at the moment.
All in all, I know of no
specific accidents and so forth. Wet pavements, strong, gusty winds (I can
certainly testify to those!). So, be extra careful, particularly on bridges
and overpasses. Dick Gilbert, SkyWatch 84.
Jeff Douglas: OK,
let's cut in here. Chuck Patyk is here with a phone call. Chuck...
Chuck Patyk: OK, John Burke is on the phone, and he's about to leave the
Weather Service. I understand you've got the tornado sighted there?
Burke: No, I don't see a tornado, but here comes the wind! We're hitting
winds up to . . . Good gracious sakes alive!
Chuck Patyk: How high is the windspeed at this time?
John Burke: There's 50 right there. By golly, the whole thing's going!
Hear it? I'm going! Goodbye!
Chuck Patyk: John Burke at the National Weather Service office at the
airport. Apparently the tornado activity over there at this time. We'll be
checking back as soon as he can get back into that area.
Jeff Douglas: What did he mean by 'I'm going!'? It sounded almost like
the wind was at the Weather Bureau! Is that what he meant?
Chuck Patyk: John was telling me before we got on that he was going to
have to get out of there quick.
Jeff Douglas: Oh, I see. Let me see if I've got this straight before you
run off, Chuck. I apparently didn't understand you, and I don't want to, you
know, press the point, but I was a little confused. . . was the fact that
they were having difficult weather at the Weather Bureau itself?
Chuck Patyk: Definitely. He said he had sighted the high winds, and that
it was just a matter of a few moments before he felt there would be a
tornado there - and, apparently at this point there is a tornado at the
airport. Perhaps Dick Gilbert could check in and tell us what he sees at
Jeff Douglas: Well, OK. Dick, if you're up there in SkyWatch 84, what
can you add? (no response)
Jeff Douglas: 4:40,
and Bob Johnson has joined us. Bob...
Johnson: Jeff, the city police say that a tornado is moving across the
southern part of the city. It was spotted near the Fairgrounds, moving from
the south, generally toward the north. They say that it has touched down
near the Fairgrounds, and apparently damaged Freedom Hall. We don't have any
more details at this time, other than the fact that people in the Louisville
area should take cover.
Jeff Douglas: OK... and, on that, our lights in here begin to blink. OK
Bob, I appreciate any more that we . . . when you get information, we'll
have it right on the air. Let's see if we can contact our Traffic Tracker
Dick Gilbert in SkyWatch 84 for a report. Dick...
Jeff Douglas: OK, can you tell us, fill us in anything more on what you
can see from your vantage point?
Dick Gilbert: Well, it's a spectacular sight. . . the low clouds, very
black, low clouds. Let's see. . . at the moment, they're just about over
Bowman Field, out at Taylorsville Road area. And, it is swirling around, and
it looks like smoke underneath it. There is no real tight, definitive
tornado as such - it's still turning
at a . . . Yes! There's one now, starting . . . yes, dipping down from the
bottom of the cloud. And let's see. . . that will be over in the Highlands,
probably along Bardstown Road and somewhere near Eastern Parkway is where
I'd guess that one is.
transformers have been blowing regularly in the path of this thing - big,
large explosions of blue-white light that help to clock it pretty well. Now,
it's clearing up very nicely behind it - as a matter of fact, just south of
Standiford, it's clear - I can see all of the hills. The Iroquois Park area
is just about out of it now. But it is definitely moving up toward the
Crescent Hill water tank now, and I'm starting to get some strong
strong - gusts way out here on
Bardstown Road near the GE plant. That's the way it looks to me. Be very,
very careful! Dick Gilbert, SkyWatch 84.
All right, Jeff, Dave Reeves of the Weather Service is on the phone.
Dave, you've seen something?
Dave Reeves: Yes, we've been tracking this tornado on radar, and we just
witnessed it pass north of Standiford Field here. It was north of the
Fairgrounds. To us, it appeared like it maybe went over the Executive Inn
area, but I'm sure it was north of there - and it was moving almost due
east. It was quite a black shaft, and you could see debris lifting up in the
shaft. So, anyone in eastern Jefferson county and the counties just east of
Jefferson should, I would say, take cover at once, if possible.
Dave, is there any indication that there is more than one tornado in
Reeves: No, once these echoes get right overhead on our radar, we just
see one big spot. And it's quite difficult until they move out away from us
- you know, say 10 miles east of us.
Then we start picking them up again.
Glen, why don't you just come over here informally
- you can't do it on that line. I've
got John Burke of the Weather Service on the line here. We'll just make the
right connections and we'll be . . .
Glenn Bastin: Yes, John. . .
John Burke: Yes, that storm, we could watch it come right in on the
airport here, Glen. There was no funnel in it until it actually got right to
the airport, then a funnel developed right in the parking lot, north of the
terminal building, and moved on to the east. And, it's moving eastward 45-50
miles per hour. So, this was ten minutes ago, so that's over in the eastern
part of Jefferson County now, moving on eastward. However, Glen, we do have
another big storm down south of us, headed east, and it's headed in the
direction of Mount Washington, another one about the same size. So, for the
next hour or so, the Mount Washington area certainly should be on the alert
for developments and take all proper precautions, like we were mentioning
Glen Bastin: OK,
now this cloud, this storm that is moving through Jefferson County, does it
appear on your radar to be moving out of the heavily populated area?
Burke: Yes, it's over east of Bowman Field now, and moving on eastward
at 45-50 miles per hour. And, as I say, when it went through here, it didn't
have a funnel when it came in, but the funnel developed right here in the
parking lot. And then it moved on eastward - we could see it move on off to
the east. And, that's when I left there before, because I was going to get
out of there! I was right next to the window and I was talking to Chuck, and
I just thought it was time for me to leave!
Glen Bastin: I can't really say that I blame you! The Mount Washington
storm, what does it appear right now. . . does it appear to be another
John Burke: Yes, another one. And on the intensity of the one we had.
And, it could very well contain a tornado also.
Jeff Douglas: We'll see if we can do anything with Dick Gilbert here. .
. I think he is on another line, checking with. . . well, let's just make
sure I've got the right buttons here. Dick Gilbert in SkyWatch 84, can you
Jeff Douglas: There we go!
Gilbert: There we go! I've been talking to the newsroom, Jeff.
I'm right over the
Fairgrounds. First of all, let's talk about traffic. . . this tornado
touched down right here at the horse barns on the north-south expressway,
and it has turned over several cars. And, let's see. . . one, two, three,
four, five, six, seven, eight. . . I would say eight automobiles have been
blown across the road or turned over. There's an ambulance here working in
the road. Traffic northbound is moving and trick- ling through here, one at
a time. Southbound, well, yes, the same thing, getting way over on the
Now, the wind damage hit
the roof of Freedom Hall and it tore three big holes in the roof. Then it
moved over on the eastern end of the building and ripped off about a third
of the roof here. The horse barns are no more. It totally wiped out the
horse barns. All of the mobile homes and trailers behind the Freedom Hall
have been completely torn up. And, over by the. . . I think it's the
Twilight Drive-In here, we've had about four trailers completely torn apart.
There's fire equipment and emergency equipment in there. Now, be very
careful on Crittenden Drive - I see more police cars and emergency equipment
heading down toward the trailer park there, that's just off the southwest
corner. Apparently, this is where the twister first touched down, and this
really caused a problem. Avoid that north-south expressway - they can only
get one or two cars through it at a time. Try and use some other route.
That's the way it looks from up here, Dick Gilbert, SkyWatch 84.
Chuck Patyk: Dick, this is Chuck Patyk. Can you see the storm at this
time, from your viewpoint?
Gilbert: No longer, Chuck. The only dark area I see is
. . . let's see. I would put that out
beyond Indian Hills, on the river, heading toward, say, Harrod's Creek at
this moment. I'm looking back now the other direction, looking for this
other one you mentioned at Elizabethtown, and it still looks clear down the
river there, past West Point. There is a grey area over toward Fort Knox.
That's the way it looks now. We're in a kind of a clear area at the moment.
Chuck Patyk: OK. We'll be checking back with you in about five minutes,
shortly after 5:00.
Dick Gilbert: I'm trying to work a possible route for you. If you came
out 1-71 and went up Zorn Avenue to Brownsboro Road. . . no, that isn't
going to work. It's just almost impossible. . . they are letting a few cars
drift through, until you get out to 1-71, just east of the Watterson - and
that's where it absolutely comes to a complete standstill. I'm looking at
1-64 now - from the downtown area, out past the Big Four bridge, all the way
out around the turn and out as far as the tunnel, which is as far as I can
see, it's at a standstill. So, 64 is out of the picture. I strongly suggest
you stay downtown and keep tuned and see if we can work out
some routes here when we get our wits about
us. The weather apparently has moderated; I'm heading downtown to pick up
one of our photographers here. There seems to be light rain over in the
Corydon area. The sun is beginning to peek through now, out in the Iroquois
Park area, and, hopefully, our spell of bad weather cells is behind us now.
The damage, once again, it started, as far as
I've been able to tell, it started at Standiford Field, just at the
northwest corner of Standiford Field, and it took a track across the
Fairgrounds and Audobon Park, and out into Eastern Parkway and Bardstown
Road. It went through the golf course at Cherokee Park. It went between
Barret Junior High School and the
Baptist Seminary. It hit Stilz, Frankfort, Pennsylvania, Hillcrest, the
Crescent Hill Golf Club. It went into Indian Hills and angled right on
across to the 1-71/Watterson interchange. That's the way it looks from here,
Dick Gilbert, SkyWatch 84.
Dick Gilbert (final report made to the WHAS
newsroom): I don't know if you can
read me or not. I just landed across the street from you here, to let the
photographer out. We've been photographing the damage and they are going to
develop these films and run them as soon as possible. Yes, I have just made
another pass across the entire area. One thing I have noticed is, that for
the most part, the people that are out and surveying the damage and so forth
do not appear to be overly depressed -
I get all sorts of friendly waves and
reactions from them. The emergency equipment is moving into most of the
areas. As you just heard, at the Crescent Hill water company, the power
transformer right there at the site, at Stilz Avenue and Frankfort, that was
crushed, like a giant had stepped on it. So, they will have a power problem
at that location. And then further out, in Indian Hills, in the Zachary
Taylor monument area, we have a high tension line down on that cross-country
line that cuts across there. So, there's a power problem at that point.
Telephone poles have been damaged right along the path of the thing, of
course. As I mentioned much earlier this afternoon, I could see the path of
the tornado not so much by the dark cloud as by the explosions of blue and
white light from the transformers as these telephone poles were snapped off.
Once again, the damage starts at Standiford
Field, at the Fairgrounds, at the trailer park there by the Twilight
Drive-In, and it ran right across Audobon Park, up into the Eastern
Parkway area, by Newburg Road. There are a lot of big, I mean really old
trees, huge trees, right down across Newburg Road. It's going to take quite
a while, I think, to get those things moved, and open up traffic there. The
path went right on out then, into Crescent Hill. It passed between Barret
Junior High School and the Baptist Seminary on Grinstead Drive. As I said
before, it hit Stilz and Frankfort. It hit the south end of Hillcrest and
Pennsylvania Avenue - very badly there. Went right across the golf course,
into Indian Hills, across Zachary Taylor, and then out across the Watterson
and 1-71 interchange, into that new housing development. And then, just east
of there, as far as I've been able to tell, that is the extent of the damage
at that point.
Now, as you can see, this
cut traffic right across the heart of the city. I'm looking at the
north-south expressway - southbound, we're still tightening at Hill, and
it's bumper-to-bumper out past the Fairgrounds. 1-64 is bumper-to-bumper,
through the Cochran Hill tunnel. 1-71 is tightening beyond Zorn, and
crawling out into the eastern section. So, you're going to have to pick your
way and be very, very careful. And, I strongly suggest you have a full tank
of gas, because you're going to spend a lot of time sitting out there in
traffic. That's the way it looks to me, Dick Gilbert, SkyWatch 84.
Douglas: It's just a little after 7:00 - it's one after 7:00 on WHAS
Louisville. Give Byron a chance to get something cold down his throat. It
was very, very strange sitting here this afternoon, reading all of the
reports, not really knowing what was going on, and then, just like a shock,
that first report from Traffic Tracker Dick Gilbert, about what he saw.
Having had a large, vast experience in covering things like this all over
the country, Dick said that this one of the worst he had ever seen. The way
he actually traced the tornado that went through Jefferson County, and each
stop along the way. . .
Byron Crawford: Yes,
Jeff, the help Dick has given us in the past few days has been immeasurable,
because from that vantage point, seven or eight hundred feet in the air in
the helicopter, he can be of great assistance - not only to us, but to
authorities who want to know what's happening with the tornadoes. Of course,
he flew over Campbellsburg the other day and gave us a fine report on
conditions up there, tracing the path of that tornado. This afternoon, he
was actually up while the tornado was cutting that swath through Louisville
and Jefferson County. Many thanks go to Dick Gilbert - he'll be up again in