Residents in Kentucky neighborhoods of half a million people fleeing storms survive unharmed

This article has been updated with the most recent death tolls reported

Shortly after a deadly tornado swept through Kentucky Thursday evening, Matt Martin of Bracken County, Ky., said he was in the middle of packing up to flee when the weather turned violent.

“I turned around, and as I looked, all I saw was just buildings exploding,” Mr. Martin told The New York Times. “The phone lines were off the hook, and I couldn’t call anybody.”

A major, F-4 tornado smashed through the suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky, a suburb of 80,000 people, before dawn on Thursday, leaving at least one death. A second one later spawned a destructive storm that hit Kentucky, Tennessee and Kentucky during the late afternoon.

The Times’ Kevin W. Quigley reported that the area had been in the path of a storm system for several days.

At least one long-retained tree had fallen on a house in Bracken County. Another one had fallen onto the porch of another. A large pile of debris was one of several things, mostly mangled metal and plywood, that the families of northern Kentucky had to sort through.

Standing on a concrete gutter, Todd Forrest of Paulsboro, N.J., said he would be staying with his sons and daughter, just a few houses away from where the house formerly stood.

“This place doesn’t have a lot of insurance on it,” Mr. Forrest said. “It’s just damage that can be fixed. It’s a young family. They’ll get back on their feet.”

Christie Whitehurst, a Bowling Green State University sophomore, pointed to the debris strewn on the lawn and sidewalk of an apartment complex across the street.

“The apartment complex is really big, but I guess it wasn’t big enough to handle what these things were doing,” Ms. Whitehurst said.

Mr. Quigley also reported:

On Friday, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for central and southern Indiana as it tracked south from Kentucky. A golf ball-sized hail stone was reported by the National Weather Service in Evansville, Ind. More than 150 miles northwest, on the outskirts of Atlanta, trees had been uprooted, power lines were downed and trees were uprooted, and several collapsed bridges and roads were closed, the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Ga., said. That included parts of Georgia Highway 315, which is about 25 miles from Atlanta, and a stretch of interstate in Cobb County, Ga. In Ohio, two people were injured in eastern Ohio, when strong winds knocked out power to five buildings at a restaurant and an apartment complex. Four people died after the storm hit in Salisbury, N.C., and a 7-year-old boy died after the storm hit in Charlotte. The boy was sleeping in his home in Salisbury, which has a population of about 10,000.

Ms. Whitehurst was out walking her dog on Friday, shaking her head and crying when she visited her neighborhood in Bowling Green. Ms. Whitehurst said she had no plans to move, and that her parents and her grandfather would help her out.

“We’re just trying to do what we can to get through this and get back to some normalcy,” she said.

Please keep others in mind as this unfolds. — Chris Sarandos (@chrissarandos) August 3, 2017

Updated at 8:43 p.m.

This article has been updated with the most recent death tolls reported

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