By Michael Broihier
Maybe it was just Lincoln County’s turn to get a break from bad weather; the past few years have brought ice, rain and tornados that have damaged homes and upset lives. Bad weather, historically bad weather passed north and south of Lincoln County, and with the exception of some uprooted trees and minor property damage the county did fine.
Thursday was a bit of reprieve, but Friday the bad weather showed. Gilliam said that at one point the county had bad storms heading toward it from Boyle County and Pulaski County. “I was thinking, “Here we go,” if these two storms collide its going to be a mess,” Gilliam said. But fortunately the fronts passed Lincoln County without damage.
On Friday evening, several credible sources spotted cloud formations with rotation, the telltale sign of a tornado, and though tails would descend from the clouds, they never touched down. These rotating clouds were spotted on Skyline Drive, the fairgrounds, Lincoln County High School and Fort Logan Hospital.
Though the county’s Emergency Operation Center wasn’t officially activated, police, fire and EMS leaders gathered there to monitor the progress of the storms.
Gilliam said that the county opened five shelters and he received several calls from people looking for a place to shelter from the bad weather. “You know, the shelter concept is really evolving; before, a shelter was a place you went after your stuff was blown away. Now, people are going to shelters ahead of time and I think that’s a good thing,” Gilliam said.
Shelters were opened at the South Lincoln County Memorial Community Center, Broughtontown Community Center, West End United Methodist Church, the Stanford Church of the Nazarene and Stanford Baptist Church. Gilliam said he hadn’t gotten reports from all of the shelters, but at least 30 people sheltered in the at the South Lincoln County shelter in Kings Mountain.
“We have a lot of people who live in mobile homes and it just makes sense for them to shelter elsewhere if they can,” Gilliam said.
The rest of the state didn’t fare so well. At least 22 Kentuckians lost their lives and towns like West Liberty in Morgan County were nearly destroyed. West Liberty was struck by a tornado that experts said was packing 140 mph winds and travelled at least 60 miles on the ground.
Considering our good fortune, some county residents immediately began to reach out to help others. Five members of the county’s Search and Rescue team took a trailer of their gear and headed to Mt. Sterling to help in relief efforts there, and at least one Sheriff’s Deputy also volunteered to go to Mt. Sterling.
While the need for help is great, state officials are saying now that the best thing you can do is donate money to groups like through groups such as the Salvation Army or the Christian Appalachian Project.
Lincoln relieved by weather 'near miss'
This trailer was flipped by high winds on Wednesday in the Sun Valley development near the fairgrounds. A few twisters were spotted over Lincoln County but none of them touched down. (Photo by Michael Broihier)