MOUNT VERNON — Knox County braced for severe weather Friday evening, but the storm skipped to the north, sparing the county from its destruction. A tornado warning for northeastern Knox County issued at 5:16 p.m. sent people to their basements, as storm sirens sounded throughout the county.
However, according to Brian Hess, Knox County Emergency Management Agency director, there were no reports of actual tornado sightings or any storm damage in the county.
“All the conditions were right for [a tornado] to occur, but I don’t have any reports of one being spotted,” Hess said.
Hess said Deputy EMA Director Matt Sturgeon remainsx at the Knox County 9-1-1 dispatch center at the Knox County Sheriff’s Office while the tornado warning was in effect.
“I’m going to be here until the call volume decreases,” Sturgeon said from the center, where he said dispatchers stayed busy fielding emergency calls and calls from the public about the storm. Sturgeon added he had received only one report of a fallen tree due to the high winds during the storm warning.
According to Colby Kinsey, an Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District firefighter who was on duty Friday evening at Station 1 in Danville, a citizen driving by reported to firefighters that a funnel cloud had been spotted in the area. However, Kinsey said no funnel cloud was seen by firefighters, contrary to reports from other media outlets.
“There were no confirmed sightings by trained spotters or first responders,” Knox County Sheriff David Barber said after the tornado warning was lifted after 6 p.m.
Further north, Loudonville Fire Chief Tom Gallagher said the storm caused high winds and heavy rains in the Loudonville area near the Mohican River.
“We checked the river and it’s rising, but still within its banks,” he reported around 7:30 Friday evening. “We don’t have any damage, but we’ve had a lot of heavy rains and winds. But the trees seem to be intact and there are no lines down.”