A tornado siren went off at 6:40 p.m. Sunday night as the storm approached, Madison County EMS, Kentucky’s emergency medical services agency, confirmed. The person manning the call couldn’t get ahold of the authorities and when they called back at 6:49 p.m., he got no answer.
A few minutes later, when the call came back, it was soon clear it was a life-threatening situation.
In an interview with CNN affiliate WCPO, Cathy Schneider, the owner of Apple Tree Acres Dairy, said when the siren went off, several terrified customers and employees were seeking shelter. She wasn’t with them.
“Everybody was running through the store, no idea what was going on. So we tried to get everybody out, because this is not a good place to be,” she said.
Countless cars and trees were smashed to pieces. She is grateful that, despite heavy damage, there were no serious injuries.
“We’ve been through a lot but we’ll be all right. And that’s all that matters to me,” she said.
In a terse statement, WCPO reported that the National Weather Service is in the process of confirming reports of a tornado, “possibly a severe EF-3”, near Madisonville. Madisonville is about 65 miles southwest of Cincinnati.
The storm’s impact on this small town is likely to be long-lasting. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) responded to several requests for help, WCPO reported. Madison County Commission Chair Rolanda Scott said the local law enforcement is reporting between eight and 10 people have been injured.
Both a tornado and severe thunderstorm warning were issued for the area at 6:48 p.m. and canceled just before 7 p.m.
Officials have so far confirmed one death, Madison County Attorney Matthew Doughty told CNN affiliate WDRB.
Doughty said that the man killed was a “elderly gentleman” whose age is unknown. The deceased was an employee with Madison Health who died from the storm.
A second fatality has been reported, according to Fire Chief Anthony Ulmer, who spoke to CNN affiliate WFIE. He did not give any details.
The Weather Service’s Cincinnati office has confirmed the existence of two confirmed tornadoes in Mayfield and Bracken County.
CNN affiliate WLWT reported a woman in Hamilton County, Ohio, died as a result of the storm.
A third tornado was reported near Washington, Ohio, WLWT reported.