LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Paducah, Kentucky, area sustained heavy damage after a tornado swept through there Thursday morning.
According to Kentucky State Police, the tornado was reported just before 9:30 a.m. in West Paducah.
Police say the tornado caused damage to an area of five square miles in western McCracken County.
The Mt. Zion Pre-School Center at 9701 Blandville Road was damaged in the winds. Police say 40 pre-school students were inside at the time, and although the building was damaged, no children or instructors were injured.
One person in the area has been injured. That person is expected to recover.
First responders are checking homes in the area to ensure the safety of the residents. The American Red Cross has opened an evacuation center at Broadway United Methodist Church.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is asking motorists to avoid travel in western McCracken County and southeastern Ballard County for at least the remainder of Thursday, due to damage in the area.
KYTC is reporting fallen utility lines, downed trees and other debris.
Viewer Kyle Parks posted an image to social media apparently showing damage to Mt. Zion Church in the Paducah area. The church appeared to be missing its roof.
According to a news release, US 62/Blandville Road is blocked by storm debris between KY 305/Fisher Road and the KY 286 intersection at Milan Station. Crews are reporting pieces of grain bins, homes and other debris blocking roadways. Some of the debris can't be cleared until utility crews arrive to cut power to the area where work is required.
"The storm left a path from near Lovelaceville along US 62 to the KY 286 intersection at Milan Station, then along US 62 to the KY 305/Fisher Road intersection in McCracken County," the news release states. "There are additional areas of downed trees and power lines reported between US 62/Blandview Road and US 60 / Hinkleville Road through the West Paducah area, as well as utility poles down near the US 60 intersection with Olivet Church Road and New Old Road at the west edge of Paducah in the Mall area."
The public is urged to avoid these areas. Anyone seeking to travel between Paducah and Ballard County or Paducah and Carlisle County should avoid US 62 and KY 286.
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