PMC employee experienced recent storm first hand

By: 
Abigail Gibson

Five years ago, our region was in shock as word spread of death and devastation from tornadoes in several eastern Kentucky counties.

 

That was the day tornadoes ripped through our region destroying numerous businesses, restaurants and homes, injuring more than 150 and property damages climbed into the millions.

 

While towns were torn apart, the community and surrounding counties were unified.

 

Every fire department in the county, rescue squad, ambulance service, police department and sheriffs office took part in banding together to help clean up the damage.

 

Two weeks ago, more than 27,000 Kentucky Power customers lost service on a Wednesday morning after strong thunderstorms, winds and a possible tornado moved through eastern Kentucky.

 

Roughly 240 Kentucky Power crews responded to outages, they requested 100 additional workers from outside our region to help restore power as quickly as possible.

 

In Pikeville, the storm hit fast with strong winds of 65 miles per hour whipping through the streets. A Pikeville Medical Center employee experienced the storm first hand.

 

She parked her car in the lower hospital parking lot and began walking towards the hospital. As she approached the crosswalk she saw a big, black cloud moving towards her.

 

“All of the sudden strong winds and rain surrounded me,” Rhoda Anderson said. “The wind took my umbrella — which is now in the form of a C — and literally took me off my feet.”

 

Anderson said she grabbed onto a light pole and held on for dear life.

 

“I heard the sound of someone honking and waving at me to get in their car,” she added. “The wind was so strong it took me several minutes to get from the pole to the car.”

 

Soaking wet, Anderson finally made her way to the car.

 

Anderson said she looked at the woman behind the steering wheel and said, “You just saved my life.”

 

Dr. Kirkpatrick said she saw Anderson and knew she had to save her.

 

Anderson and Dr. Kirkpatrick sat in her car and waited for the strong winds to pass.

 

Once the wind and rain settled, they made their way into the hospital’s parking garage.

 

“Dr. Kirkpatrick is the most wonderful human being on the face of the earth. I cannot thank her enough for what she did. She was so kind,” Anderson said.

 

The storm forced officials to declare a state of emergency.

 

Pike County Emergency Management officials said they received reports of minor property damage mostly resulting in downed trees, power lines and debris.