Tornado in Kentucky: ‘We’ve got trees and things and broken glass everywhere’

Image copyright Reuters Image caption One church was destroyed after Friday’s powerful EF-4 twister

A resident who was at the scene of a tornado in Kentucky says the scale of the disaster has still not sunk in.

“We’ve got trees and things and broken glass everywhere,” Paul Christopher told the BBC.

Mr Christopher described the devastation around the Laughlin church in Mayfield, where the twin strong tornadoes tore through the tiny town on Friday.

He said debris was strewn for miles across the town, and utility poles destroyed.

“It’s a mess over there and it’s just a shame that no one got hurt.

“There are no electricity poles, there are no telephone poles and there’s no cell phones. But in time, this is going to get taken care of.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Kentucky says EF-4 tornadoes have an estimated maximum wind speed of 165mph.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Highway 51 northbound was cut off due to the storms

There were no immediate reports of injuries and fire chief Jamie Edrington described it as “an unprecedented situation” in the area.

One church was destroyed and another damaged but Pastor Robert Taylor told local news that there was no fear of a widespread or devastating tragedy.

“I think what we’re seeing right now is just the beginning of what this community will need,” he said.

Mr Christopher said he had not heard many reports of looting in the area, with most people still too afraid to venture out.

“They didn’t want to go out,” he said. “But you can tell they want to go out and see what’s happened.”

Friday’s terrifying twisters came after other similar storms in a matter of days.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Britain’s Met Office said it had issued multiple tornado warnings over the last few days

Earlier this week, Britain’s Met Office issued severe warnings for thunderstorms across the south of the country, while on Monday evening, a tornado with speeds of 120mph (195km/h) struck a road north of the cities of Birmingham and Coventry.

Two people died in the storms in the US and the body of a young boy was found on Wednesday in a truck in Alabama.

The storms continued on Wednesday night and on Thursday morning, bringing heavy rain and large hail to the US state of Tennessee.

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