BREMEN, Ky. — The longest track tornado in Kentucky history tore through western portions of the state late Friday night. Thousands of homes, buildings and businesses were flattened by the intense winds and more than 70 people were killed in the storms.
From the perspective of David Roueche, many of these homes didn't stand a chance. Roueche is an engineer and assistant professor at Auburn University and has been surveying the damage from Mayfield to Breman over the last four days.
"This foundation started to fail before the tornado even got there," Roueche said of one home in Breman. Thankfully, the family who lived in that home was able to take shelter in a detached bunker, saving their lives.
In the wreckage he's seen, Roueche said the homes were not built to sustain high wind speeds, like the 100+ mph winds from the EF-4 tornado that tore through Mayfield and Dawson Springs. He's collecting data from the destruction, hoping to use it to push for building stronger homes in the future.
"We have a choice," he said. "We can't just blame nature for all of it and we have to decide, do we want to make it strong enough...or do we just roll the dice every tornado season and hope it doesn't hit us?"
Roueche acknowledged that it was unusual to see a tornado this strong, this far north and at this time of year.