National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


A strong storm system and associated cold front approached eastern Kentucky on Easter Sunday, with rainfall beginning during the afternoon. As the low pressure system intensified and moved into the Ohio Valley during the evening of the 12th, wind speeds began to drastically increase across eastern Kentucky. The Kentucky Mesonet station in Dorton, (positioned at 2774 feet elevation) recorded a 79 mph wind gust!

Several other gusts of 40+ mph occurred, leading to numerous instances of damage across eastern Kentucky. This includes downed trees, power lines, and structural damage, causing several roadways to be blocked for a period of time into the morning of the 13th. As many as 70,000 to 75,000 power outages were reported across eastern Kentucky. As a result of these winds, Kentucky Power reported 318 poles had to be replaced while a total of 33 miles of electric wire were downed. Given the magnitude of this event, folks at the National Weather Service office in Jackson decided to take a more in depth look at this event and see what may have led to this damaging wind event.  

After hours of discussion and research, we concluded this event  was caused by gravity waves moving through the region.  Several locations demonstrated significant surface pressure drops during the time of the strongest winds.  This coincided with several features above the surface that are common with gravity waves. While events of this magnitude are rare, they have happened in the past and you can find some of these cases by accessing the "Additional Resources" tab below.

For additional information on this event please visit the original event summary page located HERE.

We would like to extend a special "Thank You" to the Kentucky Mesonet out of Western Kentucky University for providing much of the data.  

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