A lone horse walking down the devastated street. Image from the Kentucky Department for Libraries
A lone horse walking down the devastated street. Image from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.
Kentucky was hard hit in the 1974 Super Outbreak, with 11 violent (F4-F5) tornadoes tearing through the Bluegrass state. One of these, as of 2024, remains the most powerful in the Capital City area’s history. Although Frankfort proper was spared, the surrounding communities of Avenstoke, Evergreen, Big Eddy, Inverness Estates, Tierra Linda, Jett, and Woodlake faced the twister’s wrath head-on.
It was originally accepted that the twister continued well into Scott County, through Stamping Ground, and to near Sadieville. Little-known analysis years later by Dr. Fujita himself concluded that a violent downburst, rather than a tornado, was responsible for all of the damage beyond Woodlake.
When the dust settled, four lives were lost. Of the 122 injuries, 85 were caused by the tornado, and 37 were the result of the downburst.