Numbers are now available for the devastation that hit Marshall County the evening of Dec. 10. The National Weather Service in Paducah has confirmed the tornado to be an EF-4 and reached wind speeds of over 190 mph. Previously thought to have stayed on the ground for over 250 miles, it has now been determined the tornado did lift across the state line between Kentucky and Tennessee. The twister was on the ground in Kentucky for right over 165 miles.
In Marshall County, the areas of Oak Level, north Benton, Briensburg and Cambridge Shores were hit hard. The Public Information Office for Marshall County Britney Hargrove has reported 278 buildings experienced catastrophic damage, 78 were heavily damaged, 95 had medium damage and 246 suffered light damage.
The tornado also claimed the lives of two Marshall Countians. Judith Davis, age 83, and Neila Gaither, age 78, both passed away form injuries sustained in the tornado. Davis co-owned Catfish Kitchen in Draffenville for many years with her husband Wes Davis.
West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative said Dec. 20 that its crews have completed all repairs to the distribution system, and that all WKRECC members in western Kentucky whose homes are capable of having power have been reconnected.
“This has truly been an amazing effort by our crews and the visiting crews and contractors that partnered with us to get the lights back on for our members,” said WKRECC President & CEO David Smart. “We are thankful to be part of the cooperative family and to have these resources available to help when we need it most.” Initial reports show WKRECC has replaced about 400 broken poles and more than 20 miles of line over the past week.
Benton Electric had minimal damage to its system and had restored power to all customers five days after the event.
If residents have debris in the right of way ready to be picked up, please call 270-527-8657 to be added to the pick up list. Anyone with any type of debris to their property also needs to call 270-527-8657- this applies to those that were not in the direct path of the tornado. Any type of damage should be reported (downed trees, limbs down, etc.).