Heartbreaking Drone Footage 100 Days After Tornadoes Ripped Through Kentucky
In January, we shared the devastating drone footage from Owensboro storm chaser Christopher Conley showing the damage from the fatal tornado that swept through Western Kentucky 30 days after the storms. Now we're sharing a birds-eye view documenting the rebuilding efforts in Bremen, Princeton, and Dawson Springs, Kentucky 100 days later. #strength
After deadly tornadoes hit Western Kentucky on December 10, 2021, residents in Bremen, Princeton, Dawson Springs, and many other rural communities were left to pick up the pieces. Families lost everything from their homes, vehicles, barns, belongings, and even important documents. With great sadness, reports began to emerge that 25 beautiful souls lost their lives after the historically-long tornado tore apart communities. It's hard to comprehend how they'll even begin to rebuild after so much loss. It could take years to recover from the devastation that the tornado left in its wake. Our thoughts and prayers continue.
Visiting Tornado Damaged Area 30 Days Later
When bad weather is due to hit the tri-state, my friend Christopher Conley goes into storm chaser mode. He works with local news outlets to report what's happening in the skies to help keep people safe. Just days after the tornado struck, Chris who's the owner of 270 Drones Aerial Imagery, took his drone over Bremen and Dawson Springs to survey the damage. What he shared was nothing short of catastrophic.
This was footage shared 30 days after the tornadoes swept through destroying everything in their path.
"Today Trigger and went along the damage path in west #kywx of the December 10, 2021, EF4 tornado again. What we were trying to capture is recovery efforts 30 days later. This video will show damage from the event and also a video from today. Here is #bremen #Kentucky"
"Words cannot describe the almost complete devastation to 85% of Dawson Springs #kywx from the Dec 10, 2021, EF4 #tornado Here's another short video showing how the recovery efforts are going 30 days later. Hat's off to trigger for all the help today!"
Now, here we are 100 days later and the cleanup and rebuilding continue in rural communities throughout Western Kentucky. Chris took to social media to share his unbelievable footage and his heartbreak.
Christopher Conley Visits Tornado Damaged Towns 100 Days Later
"WARNING: I'm going to steal your heart for a minute.
Today with a deep breath we flew again. Here's Princeton - Dawson Springs - Bremen #Kentucky from the air. To put the damage path into perspective, I flew 17 miles today in these 3 areas... It was tough for me. These are my friends. They’re my peeps and my coworkers. My team!!!
As you can see these people still need help.
Today in Bremen I talked to a guy that lost his sister. He was standing there with his hands in his pockets looking at a stand of trees mowed down by a mile wide wedge #tornado
Over 100 days later it’s still tough for all of us… This guy broke my heart.
We did all we could...
He told me he’d already walked every inch of that tree line I was flying to find some of her memories. He found nothing. 100+ days later it seems like yesterday.
Today in Bremen I had to take some time. That night, I did all I could, and it didn’t matter…. That’s what hurts me the most and I'm still carrying a bag full of guilt over it.
Every time I go into the damaged area, I get teared up. When I talk to the locals cleaning up, I feel like they're my family. Hopefully, I am helping their cause with these videos.
That said, they still need a lot of help. 100 days in and there’s still a ton of need. I’d almost bet most folks won’t come back in Dawson. The devastation is beyond complete..."
Community Shows Support
We agree with Monica Vandiver Dye, "You guys did an amazing job warning people and you even put your lives on the line to do so. If it had not been for you and the meteorologist more people would have passed away. This tornado was a beast."
So many people are still suffering. Darlene McKnight shared, "Thank you for sharing. My mother is 82 and still homeless. Like you said it’s a long way to go yet."
Skyler Hughes appreciates Chris and his efforts, "You were right by my house. It’s looking better, but still, a long way to go. I miss the trees and seeing green. One day, it will be better. Thanks for documenting all of this for us."
Allen N Stacy Miller is also thankful, "You saved lives that night! Doing what you do is not for the weak. You put yourself in harm's way, and I’m sure the meteorologists were able to give better information because of it. Thank you for doing what you do! We are forever thankful for all you did that night. You kept us updated, and we are so appreciative."
How to Return Personal Belongings to Tornado Victims
You may find photos, memorabilia, or important documents in your yard after tornados devasted many counties in Western Kentucky. Here are a few ways that you can help get the items back to grieving families.
Luckily we can all help ease the suffering of the victims by helping to reunite them with their cherished memorabilia, photos, and documents. Luckily, someone created a Facebook Page to help in the process. Quad State Tornado Found Items has made me both ugly cry and feel immense joy over the last few months. It's unbelievable how far the tornado took items from Dawson Springs, Drakesboro, Hartford, Central City, Bremen, Mayfield, and all towns affected. Posts showing family photos, vital documents, and memorabilia have been made from all over Louisville, Southern Indiana, and all points in between.
It's also very heartbreaking to read the stories, as many victims comment on the page. Obviously, if someone is finding these items, there's a back story as to why. It makes me emotional just thinking about it. Through all of the loss, at least they can have this small piece of their lives back. Many of the photos and items being posted have been identified, but there are and will be many more as the group continues to grow. If you find any important items please load the photos on the Quad State Tornado Found Items page, and be sure to add where you found them. It's been incredible to read about all the locations where items have been found.
If you have enough information to do so, you could also mail anything you find to area schools. They'll know the families in town and can reunite the items with the victims. It may be a small gesture, but it could help ease their suffering. Many people are also mailing what they've found to law enforcement or fire departments in those towns. They'll have a way to help as well. If you have a chance to check your property for any items, I'm sure that these families would appreciate it very much.
Looking back at the original footage, things are coming along, but there's still a very long road ahead. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims of the tornadoes.