Graves County, KY Tornado Upgraded To EF3

Posted at 6:35 AM, May 12, 2016

The tornado that ripped through Graves County, Kentucky earlier this week has been upgraded to an EF3.

The tornado developed shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday in the western part of the county and moved east.

PHOTOS: Sky 5 Aerials Of Kentucky Storm Damage

An official with the National Weather Service initially said the tornado was at least an EF2. However, it was later upgraded to an EF3, with winds peaking around 140 mph.  

The tornado stayed on the ground for 30 minutes and cut a 19-mile path as it extended into Marshal County.

It was the region's largest tornado in three years. The last storm of this magnitude occurred on November 17, 2013 in Illinois and killed three people. 

Only eight people were hurt in the Kentucky storm.

Martie Winfrey recalled it as a day he’ll never be able to erase from his mind.

“I was running down that road, and I thought 'I’m not going to make it. It's going to catch me' because it was coming across here fast,” he said.

He found the closest and strongest thing he could hold on to – a tree directly in the path of the storm. But the tornado seemed to change its direction and moved towards his home. 

The tornado picked it up like a toy and tossed it, and everything else, across the street.

The cleanup began as the ruthless reality of what happened set in for everyone. There's no question as how strong the storm was, but even more powerful was the city's resilience.