PADUCAH, Ky. – A tornado touched down Thursday in Kentucky, leaving some damage and at least one injury, officials said.
A state of emergency was declared in a western Kentucky county where the storm spread damage around a 5-square-mile (13-square kilometer) area, knocking down power lines and covering roadways in debris, officials said.
State police said at least one injury has been reported in McCracken County from the storm. Emergency crews were going door-to-door in the area to check on residents.
State trooper Rob Austin said it appears that dozens of homes were damaged, and high winds were continuing in the area Thursday afternoon.
"Things are still flying," he said.
Authorities said buildings were damaged, including a preschool. Forty students were inside but none were reported hurt.
The twister plowed through parts of western Kentucky, including the West Paducah area, according to Keith Todd, a spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. He said the public was being asked to avoid the area while utility crews, area fire departments, and rescue squads worked to clear utility lines, downed trees and other debris.
Weather officials in Paducah said it blew past their office.
During the morning, the National Weather Service in Paducah tweeted, "TORNADO JUST MISSED OUR OFFICE IN WEST PADUCAH. TAKE SHELTER NOW IF YOU'RE IN PADUCAH!!!!"
Video of the Kentucky tornado was posted on social media. Jared Borum filmed the forming twister as it moved across a field of trees in Paducah. Borum and a room full of others watched the funnel grow and whip across the field.
"It's amazing. See the debris? You can see it hitting the trees," Borum said on his recording.
People could be heard saying, "You can see the tornado right here," ''Oh my God," "What in tarnation" and "It's a legit tornado."
Weather forecasters say numerous severe storms are possible beginning Thursday afternoon in the Tennessee Valley region and as far south as the northern Birmingham area.
Officials said schools were closing early in north Alabama because of the severe weather possibility.
Forecasters say winds up to 60 mph (97 kph) are possible along with isolated tornadoes and hail.
The state is on the southern end of a storm system that pummeled the central United States.