Kentucky Farm Bureau and Storm Season: The Mayfield TornadoPosted on May 26, 2016
Kentuckians live in a beautiful place but unfortunately it is also in a part of the country prone to severe weather outbreaks, especially in the western portion of the state.
The people of Mayfield know this all too well. On May 10 a tornado struck the area leaving several homes, barns and businesses damaged, some of which were completely destroyed.
While the damage was devastating for those affected, luckily there were no deaths or serious injuries.
Kentucky Farm Bureau leaders both at the county and state levels immediately reacted to the disaster.
Mike Cartwright, the KFB agency manager in Graves County said he and his office staff watched the storm move through the area from their building knowing there was going to be a great amount of damage caused by the tornado.
He immediately informed the staff to be prepared for calls. One such call came from local businessman Dwain Warren, the owner of a local antique store.
“I was not at the business at the time of the storm but I got a phone call and was told the store was destroyed,” he said.
And that it was. Most of the structure was completely blown away and while people were in the building at the time of the tornado, no one was hurt.
“I don’t think anybody had a scratch and that’s unbelievable,” added Warren. “That’s just by the great mercies of God that anyone could make it through, so I’m very thankful for that.”
KFB President Mark Haney led the state team on sight after the storm hit. He said it’s remarkable the amount of damage that can be caused by such a weather event in an instant.
“It’s amazing what just a minute or two can mean in the destruction to a lifetime of assets and we were there with a team to try and put lives back together as quickly as possible,” he said.
John Sparrow, CEO of the KFB Mutual Insurance Company, also visited sites in Mayfield affected by the storm. He said whenever the reports start coming in about potential bad weather, it’s a time of concern for everyone.
“When the winds blow and the radars flare up, we start getting anxious, as well, because we know what it could bring,” he said. “The interesting part of that is our organization really steps up. We had claims folks who were talking to our affected members here the day of the storm. It’s a testimony to this organization that we are very comfortable knowing we are going to be able to deliver on the promise that we made to those customers.”
Haney added that it’s difficult to see something a person has worked for all their life reduced to rubble and knowing that something like this storm is a reality of the world in which we live.
“But it’s also very comforting to know you have an insurance company that is going to take care of it,” he said. “Those are the things that make us feel good about what we do and why we do it. That’s the business we’re in.”
According to information from the National Weather Service (NWS), in an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide, resulting in 80 deaths and over 1,500 injuries.
· Tornadoes can occur at any time of the year.
· In the southern states, peak tornado occurrence is in March through May, while peak months in the northern states are during the summer.
· In some states, a secondary tornado maximum occurs in the fall.
· Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m. but have been known to occur at all hours of the day or night.
· The average tornado moves from southwest to northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction. The average forward speed is 30 mph but may vary from nearly stationary to 70 mph.
What to do when bad weather strikes:
The NWS notes, the key to tornado survival is a safety plan.
“Your plan at home should be known by everyone in the home and practiced at least twice each year. Children who may be at home alone should know what to do and where to go even if no adults are there.”
Get as low as possible - completely underground is best.
Put as many barriers between you and the outside as possible.
Stay away from doors, windows and outside walls.
Bathrooms, closets, hallways and under stairs may be adequate safe areas in the event a basement or underground shelter is not available.
If caught outside and no shelter is available, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as possible.
If in a car and no other shelter is available, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
To view the KFB Minute relating to the Mayfield tornado, go to: