BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WTVF) — One year ago, an EF3 tornado ripped through Bowling Green, Kentucky. The December 11 storm destroyed hundreds of homes and took 17 lives. Twelve of those deaths came from one neighborhood known as Creekwood.
New construction, tarps and even foundations of homes that have yet to even be touched can be seen throughout the neighborhood. It’s an everyday reminder of what happened one year ago.
“Everyone lost a lot, a lot of stuff. A lot of people died," said neighbor Sarah Perrine.
For the homes the tornado didn’t destroy, dozens were condemned, forcing families to find a new place to call home.
“I’m glad they’re getting it put back together," said Perrine, who has a front-row seat from her home watching crews finish jobs every day. “It’s chaotic, you know what I mean? But it’s got to be done.”
The tornado put things into perspective for her family. They moved into the neighborhood a few weeks after the storm, but were nearby when it blew through. “One day you can have everything normal and then next day it’s just completely gone and destroyed.”
Homes that went without a scratch now sit beside others that were completely wiped out. But as each day passes, the pieces are being put back together.
“Seventeen lives too many, for a community of our size," said Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott. "You think it’s never going to happen to you. You think there’s this magic bubble, we’re protected.”
The damage sent a clear message to the mayor to put more resources in place to protect the community and make sure they’re out of harm's way.
“We want people to know that Bowling Green has not only been hurt, but we are coming out stronger from this," he said.
Some of those resources include plans for a new emergency operation center and safety shelters in parks to protect people without stable homes.