Listeners to WHOP 40 years ago Saturday tuned in to hear coverage of what was likely the strongest tornado to hit the city limits of Hopkinsville in recorded history.
That was John Atkins telling the late Dave Kinsey of the damage he saw traveling home to Hopkinsville from Murray on May 12, 1978 in a recording from the WHOP archives.
National Weather Service in Paducah Warning Coordination Meteorologist Rick Shanklin was a child at the time and the tornado came close to hitting his home west of the city. It helped inspire him to pursue his career and he appeared on WHOP Friday to remember that day.
There were 17 injuries from the tornado that touched down near I-24 and KY 272 and stayed on the ground for 12 miles as it moved east-northeast, but there were no fatalities.
Shanklin says tornado warnings were usually only issued in 1978 after a tornado touched down.
Another strong tornado touched down in the city limits of Hopkinsville on February 24th of this year and Shanklin says storms like these are reminders that every home should have a way to receive warnings—during the day and night—and they should have a plan of action to stay safe if a tornado warning is issued.