Four people died Friday afternoon when a tornado tore through southeastern Jefferson County.
In addition to the four fatalities in Jefferson County, state authorities said late Friday that four people died in Washington County, three in Scott County, two in Ripley County and one in Clark County.
Based on witness reports, the storm moved from Nabb to Saluda and Paynesville before jumping over to Milton, Ky., and moving through Trimble and parts of Carroll counties.
The storm hit near the intersection of State Road 62 and Swan Road, destroying homes and knocking down trees and power lines. The storm also destroyed homes on Hanover-Saluda Road just north of Paynesville.
Jefferson County Coroner Alice Carlson-Jackson said four people in Jefferson County died as a result of the storm, including a 4-year-old boy. Three adults - two men and a woman - also died. Carlson-Jackson said three of the victims were from the same family and were at home in Chelsea. The victims names were not released Friday night.
Dennis Pruett, director of King's Daughters' Hospital emergency room, said the hospital was busy Friday, with five people coming in with storm-related injuries. Pruett said all those visits were due to fractures or cuts, and none of the injuries were life-threatening.
Dave Bell, emergency management director for Jefferson County, said all people in the areas affected by the storm have been accounted for. He said crews have been moving debris and have cleared all county roads and highways.
"All the roads are passable," he said. State Road 62 was closed Friday evening and Bell said it would likely reopen at 8 a.m. today.
High winds, rain and hail the size of golf balls accompanied the storms. John Denman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Louisville, confirmed at least one tornado hit Jefferson County on Friday afternoon.
Crews will visit the damaged areas today to determine a classification for the storm.
"Saying it was a strong tornado would be an accurate statement," Denman said.
Master Trooper Rick Stockdale with the Indiana State Police said he was sitting on his porch when the storm came through, and estimated the tornado was about a half-mile wide.
Tammy Sedam, a bus driver for Southwestern schools, said she saw the tornado after stopping at the Chelsea General Store and taking the students inside.
"As we got the kids into the back room, it looked just like somebody driving up (State Road) 62," she said. She saw debris flying through the air, but was not able to determine whether the funnel cloud had touched down.
Sedam had received word that the storm was coming through and decided to drop off as many riders as possible before seeking shelter. She drove while getting assistance from senior Jacob Marshall, who kept an eye on the sky for any funnel clouds.
When the storm got bad, she and the students went into the Chelsea General Store. Two other buses stopped there, where Sedam estimated 80 students took shelter from the storm.
"Tony (Williams, owner of the Chelsea General Store) has been wonderful. He gave them pop and fed them pizza," Sedam said.
Phone lines were down and cell reception was spotty, Sedam said, so they contacted the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department to put a message out on the radio about the students who were at the Chelsea General Store.
Sedam said some of the younger children were frightened during the ordeal, but the older students were able to help keep everyone calm.
Joe and Annette Cartwright, who live at the intersection of State Road 62 and Swan Road, had minor damage to their home but a collapsed garage and outbuilding.
The Cartwrights had recently renovated their home at State Road 62 and Swan Road. They also had several restored and new cars at their property, some of which were destroyed when the tornado came through. None of their family was injured.
Madison Police Chief Dan Thurston said looters were seen in Paynesville at a damaged home. He said Detective Lt. Jonathon Simpson, who responded to the area after the storm hit, located two men taking items from a home.
Thurston said Simpson secured the items and got names and identification from the two men. An investigation is ongoing.
Bell said deputies would remain in the area overnight.