28th Anniversary Of Tornado That Devastated Parts Of Lexington

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Tornado Damage In Lexington 3-10-86
March 10, 2014, marked the 28th anniversary of a tornado that ripped through parts of Lexington, injured people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.

The following is the account of that day from the National Weather Service:

This was one of the worst tornadoes ever to strike Lexington. 

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The tornado began in the vicinity of Tates Creek Road and Man O War Boulevard shortly before 5pm. 

A barn was destroyed near the intersection of Wilson Downing Road and Tates Creek Road. 

The twister, about 100 yards wide, traveled to the northeast, heavily damaging Gainesway, Southeastern Hills, and many neighborhoods along Man O War Boulevard before lifting at Richmond Road across the street from Saint Joseph East Hospital. 

Park Hills Shopping Center was damaged, and Pimlico Parkway and Mammoth Drive were badly hit.  Roofs were torn off at Ak-Sar-Ben Park. 

Overall, 845 homes were damaged, 200 of them near-F3. 

Twenty people were injured, and damages totalled $50,000,000 (in 2011 dollars).

Heavy damage was seen on Green River Court and at 3576 Pimlico Parkway. 

The roof at 3245 Mammoth Drive flew into the Park Hills Shopping Center, 1240 Ascot Park was badly damaged, and the houses at 3576 Bold Bidder and 1248 Ak-Sar-Ben Park were destroyed. 

Somewhat lighter damage was noted on Personality Court, Sundart Drive, Centre Parkway, and River Park Drive in Gainesway. 

A man at 3576 Bold Bidder broke his neck when a brick wall collapsed on him. 

 About 150 families required emergency shelter. 

Originally, the head of the local National Weather Service office in Lexington, Jim Speray, claimed that the damage was done by a downburst rather than by a tornado, with winds of 100 to 200 mph. 

He later changed his ruling to an F2 tornado. 

Tornado expert Dr. Ted Fujita (or possibly students of his) surveyed the damage. 

By coincidence, this was the date of the annual statewide tornado drill test. 

Jim Barnes of 1448 Canonero Drive said he was grilling steaks in his driveway.  "When I flipped one of the steaks and it didn’t come back down, I knew it was time to go inside." 

Streets that suffered damage (other than those listed above):  Atokad Park, Aztec Circle, Big Ben Court, Carlsbad Court, Carriage Lane, Custer Drive, Custer Lake Court, Dale Drive, East Hills Drive, Glacier Court, Golden Gate Park, Mount Rainier Drive, Packanack Court, Personality Court, Pipestone Court, Rocky Mount Court, Stephen Foster Drive, Shoal Lake Drive, Squires Circle, Squires Road, Tates Brook Drive, Travis Court, Tuscaloosa Lane, Woodview Drive, and Yosemite Circle.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.