National Weather Service discusses deadly 2005 tri-state tornado

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(WENT) – On the night of November 5, 2005, many residents in Henderson, Kentucky and Evansville, Indiana and Gentryville, Indiana went to bed unaware that their lives would change in the wee hours of November 6.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Paducah had been watching the storm since it hit Missouri. They noted that the storm was strong and showed signs of rotation even across Illinois, but never produced a tornado. Head meteorologist Christine Wielgos was in the office that night and watched the storm. She said that once the storm crossed Union County, Kentucky, a tornado warning was obviously needed. She said she was reluctant to put out the 2am warning, knowing that this would wake up a lot of people and that there might not be a real tornado. However, she said the rotation was more clearly defined and needed to issue the warning in an attempt to save lives.

In Paducah and far away from the storm, the weather service is monitoring the coverage of the local television station for reports of possible damage. Wielgos said she knew for a fact that there was a tornado headed for Evansville when she heard that chief meteorologist Wayne Hart reported that Ellis Park had been damaged.

The tornado spent 45 minutes on the ground and covered a distance of 66 kilometers with peak winds of 200 miles per hour. Unfortunately, the tornado killed 25 people, most of them in what was then Eastbrook Mobile Home Park in Evansville.

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