Path length: 7 miles

Width:  880 yards

Fatalities:  0

Injuries:  18

Rating:  F3

County:  Daviess

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 37.72 / -87.18   End:  37.77 / -87.12   

Corrected Coordinates based on the DAT:

Start: 37.717444 / -87.193715       End: 37.762869 / -87.085516   

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.


Two F3 tornadoes occurred on January 3, 2000 in the state of Kentucky.  They were both spawned by one long-track supercell.  This summary looks at one of those significant tornadoes that moved through Daviess County, and the town of Owensboro.

The tornado developed near Rome.  It tracked northeast crossing over the southern part of the Owensboro Airport and then right into the heart of the city of Owensboro.  The National Weather Service estimated the peak winds at 180 mph.

1200 homes and businesses sustained varying degrees of damage.  101 of the 1200 were totally destroyed and 573 sustained major damage.  Heavy damage occurred to Apollo High School, Kentucky Wesleyan College and a Winn-Dixie.  Numerous automobiles were tossed.  

There were 18 injuries and no fatalities.  One person was critically injured in a home near the beginning of the path.  They had a broken vertebrae along with cuts and bruises.

Images via NWS Paducah Summary

This was taken at 4:05 P.M., just one minute before the tornado touchdown. The radar is at its lowest elevation angle. Notice the apparent rotation just entering Owensboro from the southwest.

Damage Photos from FEMA - Taken by Owensboro Municipal Utilities/Dale Harris

The residential area behind the A-frame church suffered severe damage, as shown in this photo taken immediately after the tornado.
The tornado hit hard in Tamarack Park. Some homes received relatively minor damage, while adjacent homes were completely blown off their foundations.


On the 17th anniversary of the event, Leisa Prater chats with WBKR morning guy Chad Benefield and shares photos of the damage her home sustained during the January 3rd, 2000 F-3 tornado that hit parts of Owensboro, KY.

News 25 Coverage of the Owensboro, KY Tornado

Newspaper Clippings

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