National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Tropical Depression Bertha Lifting North; Isolated Severe Across Southern U.S.; Heat Continues In West

Tropical Depression Bertha continues to weaken and lift north toward the central Appalachians and eastern Ohio Valley. Heavy rain, gusty winds and flooding are likely. Meanwhile, isolated severe thunderstorms are possible on Thursday from the Southeast to south-central High Plains. Finally, the ongoing heat wave continues in the West and will expand into the Rockies by the weekend. Read More >

March 24, 1937
Counties:  Fayette, Clark KY
F-scale:  F4
Deaths:   5
Injuries:  28
Path width:  150 yards
Path length:  15 miles
Time:  5:50pm
Notes:  This major tornado touched down in Fayette County between Athens and Boone Creek, probably between Gentry Road and Athens-Boonesboro Road.  Only one structure was destroyed in Fayette County, which was a barn on the Scott Farm when the tornado was about 200 yards wide and less than a minute old.  The tornado grew in strength very rapidly, and after traveling only about a mile it crossed Boone Creek and completely swept away a house on the Clark County side of the creek.  A four-year-old girl in the house was blown 200 yards and survived with a broken leg.  The storm continued to the northeast through Becknerville (where the funnel was 400 yards wide), with its sights set on Winchester.  The storm roared across Two Mile Pike and into the southern and eastern outskirts of the city.  The worst of the storm hit a section variously called, among different sources, "the Patio," "Patio Pike," and "Patio Station," which is believed to be in the vicinity of the intersection of modern-day Patio Street and Hamilton Street along the railroad tracks.  Here a 9-year-old boy was partially scalped and suffered a fractured skull.  One hundred buildings were leveled and parts of houses were found half a mile away.  Only three houses remained standing on the far east side of Winchester.  A witness on a high spot on East Broadway witnessed the tornado decimate the Patio/Muddy Creek Pike area around 6pm.  The tornado was a "funnel-shaped spiral, light gray at the top and black at the bottom."   The tornado continued northeast, crossing Irving Road and Ironworks Road, finally dissipating five miles east of Winchester.  It was noted in the local press that the tornado never left the ground along its 15 mile path, and made a "clean sweep" of the earth.  It was called the worst storm in the history of Clark County, and probably still is (rivaled only by the April 3, 1974 tornado).  Though the tornado missed central Winchester, the city was pummeled by hail up to 4" in diameter (grapefruit sized) that damaged roofs, ripped car tops, and covered the ground like snow.  The hailstones had "long icicles" on them.  Click here for a map showing the approximate path of the tornado through Winchester.