Man describes what he saw and heard as storm ripped through mall area

PADUCAH — The damage heavy winds and a tornado left behind in west Kentucky includes Kentucky Oaks Mall and some of the surrounding strip malls.

Jeb Dowell was at Planet Fitness this morning when the tornado came through. He said it’s a sound he’ll never forget.

“I was getting my workout in,” Dowell said — until he got a text saying that his kids were secure at Lone Oak Middle.

“At about that time, the manager over here herded everybody up. We all went to the designated bathrooms. We got in there in a second. We got in there; it sounded like a freight train had rolled through here,” Dowell said.

It was about 9:10 a.m. when the tornado hit. “I can’t explain how loud it was to you,” Dowell said. “It sounded like somebody took a car and threw it across the building,”

And as quickly as it hit, it was gone, leaving a trail of damage behind. 

“I would say eight or nine vehicles actually got the glass knocked out of the back of their vehicles from, I guess, the rocks from this building right here,” Dowell said.

Damage trailing all along the strip mall area reached Tuesday Morning.

“I never had my ears pop like that. That was something that was different,” Dowell said. “Just glad that Jesus Christ saved me through all of this.”

Kentucky Oaks Mall closed for the rest of Thursday. The damage there is still being assessed.

For more photos of the damage from this mornings tornado, click here.