Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - Updated: 2:06 AM
MURRAY -- A preliminary assessment by the National Weather Service Saturday determined that a tornado that packed winds as high as 125 mph moved through Calloway County Thursday night.
The assessment determined that the tornado carved a path of about five miles from the area of Murray High School and ended at the Shipley Farms facility on Kentucky 121 about three miles southeast of the city. The storm struck about 9:30 Thursday night and came with the second of two severe thunderstorm complexes that moved through the area that evening, the first dumping mainly hail - some as wide as 1.3 inches in diameter - at about 8 p.m.
The NWS said the twister rated an EF-0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale of tornado intensity when it first touched down at the intersection of Doran Road and Johnson Boulevard. With winds of up to 70 mph, the tornado ripped the roofs from two dugout shelters at the Mallary France Soccer Complex at Murray High School, throwing the roof remains onto a section of metal fencing of one residence and onto the roof of a vehicle parked in the driveway of another.
The tornado is believed to have touched down on Riverwood Drive along U.S. 641 in the southernmost part of the city. Here, at least three trees were severed well above the ground, signaling that rotation, not straight-line winds, caused that damage. A large tree also fell onto a gazebo on Riverwood.
After moving across Murray Paris Road, the tornado then made its heaviest impact, striking Shipley Farms with winds of 95 mph and a width of about 125 yards, increasing to an EF-1 rating.
Along with heavy damage to a pole barn, a second barn was destroyed by trees that were tossed into it. Metal siding from the pole barn was also tossed in multiple directions, indicating rotation.
The NWS said the assessment results are still preliminary, pending a review of radar images taken from the time the tornado is suspected to have existed. Once official, the assessment results will be posted on the NWS Paducah Office site at www.weather.gov/pah.