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Our Region Among Highest Risk In Nation For Nocturnal Tornadoes, NWS Advises Preparation

Mark Humphrey

Monday’s severe storms in the region arrived at the start of Kentucky’s Severe Weather Awareness Week from the National Weather Service, recognized March 1-7.

Rick Shanklin, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at NWS in Paducah, said March and April are the months with the most tornadic activity, but every month of the year offers potential for severe weather in the state. 

“April and May are the months that we see on average, the greatest number of severe thunderstorms including tornadoes in our region. Having said that, we do get severe weather each month of the year,” said Shanklin. “So, the bottom line though is we need to be prepared, because we do get severe thunderstorms every month of the year.”

He said nocturnal tornadoes, such as those which caused widespread damage and resulted in the loss of at least 24 lives in central Tennessee this week, are common in Tennessee as well as the Mississippi and Ohio Valley regions, which includes western Kentucky. 

Shanklin said, “Mid - Mississippi Valley, to the Ohio Valley does have the highest frequency overall of nocturnal tornadoes of anywhere in the country. You got to have that method to be alerted at night. And that includes a weather radio. Everyone should have a weather radio.”

Shanklin said it's important to keep more than one method of weather alerts available during high impact weather, suggesting weather radios and a cell phone with emergency alerts. He advises people in mobile homes or cars to find a low place like a ditch in the path of a tornado.

For people in homes without basements, Shanklin said an interior room with no windows is the safest location. He suggests covering with a mattress and wearing a bike or sports helmet if available. 

The NWS suggests practicing tornado sheltering plans. 


Hannah is a Murray State Journalism major. She found her place in radio during her second year in Murray. She is from Herndon, KY, a small farming community on the Kentucky/Tennessee stateline.
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