Downtown Paintsville was hit hard Wednesday evening by strong storms, causing moderate to severe damage within the city limits.
Johnson Co Emergency Management Director Gary McClure said the storm hit Paintsville around 7 pm and caused significant damage to some parts of the city.”
He went on to say that preliminary indications suggested that the damage was limited to city and the outlying areas of the county doesn’t appear to have received any major damage at all.”
As you drove through Paintsville Wednesday evening you could definitely see what damage this storm, which had winds in excess of 50 mph and heavy rainfall, left in its path.
McClure said they had received reports of damage to the roofs of homes, the Professional Eye Care business had it”s roof completely ripped off and distributed throughout the city.
The steeple of the Paintsville First Baptist Church was blown off and numerous trees were left broken, uprooted or badly damaged.
About 90% of Paintsville was left without power for most of the night.
McClure thinks the damage was caused by whats referred to as straight line winds which are damaging winds (typically 60mph or greater) that travel in a uniform direction as they propagate across an area.
Some straight-line wind events can be so destructive that they are sometimes mistaken for tornadoes.
Straight-line winds can also exceed 100 mph and account for around 50% of all severe reports during any given year.
Some also believe what’s called a microburst was to blame, which is an intense small-scale downdraft produced by a thunderstorm or rain shower.
A microburst often has high winds that can knock over fully grown trees.
They usually last for seconds to minutes.
The National Weather Service plans to survey the storm damage Thursday.