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TORNADO TO DROUGHT TO NOW SEVERE FLOODING: KENTUCKY FARMERS FACE MORE CROP LOSSES FROM WEATHER EXTREMES

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Mayfield, Kentucky has been in the bull’s-eye of Mother Nature’s wrath the past two years. Nineteen months after an EF4 tornado tore through the town, the deadliest in Kentucky’s history, the community was hit with massive flooding this week. Nearly 12″ of rain fell in a 24-hour period, setting a new record. 

The intense rain also came with hail and strong winds. The powerful storm caused life-threatening flooding that gaped open roads and suffocated crops, yet another natural disaster and blow to the western Kentucky community and surrounding land.

“This is my 50th crop that I’m putting out,” says Keith Lowry, a local farmer. “Never in my lifetime have I ever seen over 11″ in a 24-hour period. And we just couldn’t handle it.”

Keith Lowry

Lowry says when he went to bed Tuesday night, they had just received over an inch of much needed rain. The sun had even popped out. The storm then hit in the middle of the night and parked over the area, generating massive amounts of rain. 

“By the time I got into Mayfield on Tuesday morning, which is about 10 miles north of me, it had already rained up to six”, and Mayfield was flooded. “They wouldn’t let you through the streets, cars were drowned out.”

Lowry says the rain didn’t budge all day, and with trees covering roads, and flood waters rising, Lowry and other farmers brought their tractors to try to help clear roads the best they could.

“Up in our lower bottoms, we call it our creek bottoms, we had over 4′ of water across the bridges,” says Lowry. “I could get across it on the tractor, but no cars were able to cross, and by dinner on Wednesday it finally quit raining. The water didn’t leave until later that night sometime.”

Lowry’s ground in the bottoms held the water for hours, and he’s now trying to assess the losses on his farms. Only about 10% of Lowry’s ground is located in the bottom area, but other farmers have more.

“The corn is going to be fine, the water was probably 6′ up on some of my corn in the bottoms, but the water receded slowly on that, which is good. When it goes back in the creek fast, that pulls the corn with it, but it did not do that this time,” says Lowry. “Now the soybeans didn’t fair as good.

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