STORMS 3-14-19 - BRANDENBURG DAMAGE - HAYDEN.jpg

A strip of shops and an apartment building were damaged by high winds in Brandenburg, Kentucky.

BRANDENBURG, Ky. (WDRB) -- Storms moved into Kentucky on Thursday, knocking out power to thousands and spawning at least one tornado near Paducah.

Heavy rain and strong winds moved through Louisville, leaving downed power lines, damaged roofs and toppled trees. Thousands of people were without power at the height of the storm. Louisville Gas & Electric's power outage map showed more than 20,000 without power. In Bullitt County, more than 2,000 were without power.

In south Louisville, the roof was blown off of a former night club in Taylor Boulevard not far from Churchill Downs. No injuries were reported. Part of the roof was blown off the St. Paul Baptist Church on Crums Lane in Shively.

A tree left damage to Audubon Elementary School off Hess Lane. The school's night custodian said the tree landed right on a fifth grade classroom. Only a few people were inside at the time. The canopy of a gas station also collapsed on Billtown Road.

In Meade County, winds ripped the roof off of a strip of stores and an apartment building Brandenburg. Joel Pierce was inside his apartment at the time. 

"I sat there and heard the wind howling and I said 'well I better get up and move my truck' so that's what I did, then I got back in and that come off," He said. 

The aluminum roof and wood beams from the roof were left in the parking lot and on top of cars. No injuries were reported there either. 

A National Weather Service team will have to determine whether a tornado touched down near Paducah.

Kentucky State Police declared a state of emergency in part of western Kentucky after a reported tornado knocked down power lines and covered roadways in debris. One person was injured in McCracken County. Emergency crews were going door-to-door to check on residents.

KSP Trooper Rob Austin said it appears that dozens of homes were damaged, and high winds were continuing in the area Thursday afternoon.

"Things are still flying," he said.

Authorities said buildings were damaged, including a preschool. Forty students were inside, but none were reported hurt.

The twister plowed through parts of western Kentucky, including the west Paducah area, according to Keith Todd, a spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. He said the public was being asked to avoid the area while utility crews, area fire departments, and rescue squads worked to clear utility lines, downed trees and other debris.

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