Storms batter Kentucky, Tennessee (raw weather video)

Cloud-to-air lightning flashes on Sunday, July 27, 2014 in Jamestown, Ky. (Photo © 2014 Billy Suratt)

Strong storms swept across the Mid-South yesterday, bringing with them torrential rain, sporadic hail, impressive displays of lightning and damaging winds but no reported deaths or injuries.

In Central Kentucky, more than a dozen Lexington homes were damaged on July 27, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The storm knocked out power to more than 10,000 Fayette County homes, the newspaper reported, but that number had dropped below 2,000 by 7 p.m. ET.

A Lexington fire department spokesman said the department received more than 50 storm-related calls in less than five hours.

No injuries were reported, but lightning knocked out the department’s communications system around noon ET. Calls for help were rerouted to the personal cell phones of fire department personnel thanks to quick-thinking dispatchers, the spokesman said.

The National Weather Service office in Louisville said straight-line winds were to blame for the damage in Lexington, estimating wind speeds of 70 mph gusting to 95 mph. Golf ball-sized hail also fell, the service said.

Possible small tornado in east Tennessee

A Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman told The Tennessean at least seven of east Tennessee’s 36 counties suffered storm damage with at least 10 homes being destroyed. One of the hardest-hit areas was Speedwell, Tenn., in Claiborne County, approximately 55 miles north of Knoxville and 20 miles south of Middlesboro, Ky.

A National Weather Service crew is expected to survey the damage in Claiborne County today to determine whether it was struck by a small tornado or merely straight-line winds.

Storm damage was much more minor in South-Central and southern Kentucky.

Downed trees caused a temporary closure of Kentucky Highway 3140, also known as Little Renox Road, north of Burkesville in Cumberland County, and police in Clinton County reported trees down seven miles north of Albany.

In Russell County, radio station WJRS-FM reported part of a barn was blown across Airport Road in Jamestown. Heavy rain and some hail blanketed the county earlier in the day, with a trained weather spotter reporting hail up to 1.75 inches in diameter falling in Jamestown.

I'm a Mid-South photojournalist, Kentucky writer and digital media consultant (or eNinja™). Circle me on Google Plus at, follow me on Twitter at @surattb and Instagram me at @BillySuratt. Got a news tip or suggestion about some journalism that needs committed? Email (discretion is always guaranteed).

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