Man Describes Almost Driving Into Tornado
By West Kentucky Star Staff
WEST PADUCAH - A local businessman got a close-up look at Wednesday's tornado.

Auctioneer Chris Colson heard tornado coverage on NewsTalk 94.3 while near Kentucky Oaks Mall, and learned that the storm was tracking near his Ballard County home. When he became concerned about his farm animals, there was nobody at home, so Colson started driving there while conditions deteriorated.

While driving about 15-20 mph through the strongest rain he had ever experienced, Colson said the rain suddenly stopped and he could see around his vehicle near Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

Colson said, "I'd never seen rain come down that hard, that fast, and then abruptly stop that quick, and when it did, I saw it. It was starting to come across the road, and I actually hesitated just for a second, becuse I just couldn't believe what I was seeing."

Colson said the tornado wasn't the typical slender funnel that is typically seen in videos, he said it was a very broad, thick rotation. 

"I couldn't even see the sides of it, I was too close, and me and some other people on the road made a quick decision to turn around and run," Colson said.

He said he didn't see the grain bin strike a pickup truck that was coming the other way, which caused the only injury related to the severe weather, and he also didn't see the McCracken County Sheriff's Deputy that was riding out the storm in his cruiser in the church parking lot.

"The tornado was so thick, you can't see through it," he said. 

Colson said he wasn't really scared at the time - he was amazed by what he was seeing - but became scared a little later. He drove east for a short distance and pulled over in a parking lot to wait out the storm, and realized how dangerous the situation was when the winds picked up again.

After he saw that the tornado had moved closer to town, Colson went back to the scene, and said roads that were once clear looked like a war zone. He said he pulled into the church parking lot and first responders arrived within a couple of minutes. 

Colson said if the rain hadn't stopped - which Meteorologist Lew Jetton says is typical - he would likely have driven right into the tornado. Colson added that he realized how insignificant he was in relationship to the storm.

Published 03:50 PM, Friday Mar. 15, 2019
Updated 04:00 PM, Friday Mar. 15, 2019