LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On Dec. 2021, 17 people died when an EF3 tornado hit Bowling Green and left 475 homes in Warren County severely damaged.

What You Need To Know

  • 475 homes in Warren County had severe damage following the 2021 tornado

  • 17 people perished in the storm

  • The tornado also damaged 120 businesses

The community is still picking up the pieces and rebuilding the town they call home. “Right down the bypass, the most iconic street in the city of Bowling Green along with Russellville Road and Nashville Road, I mean it literally ripped right through our community and went all the way over to the corvette plant,” Bowling Green mayor, Todd Alcott said.

Alcott recounts the EF3 tornado as if it happened yesterday. “The first thing I noticed is that you couldn’t get any further. There’s a police officer sitting right here, his window was blown out, it was officer Robby Perry, I knew him,” Alcott said. “I said to Robby, ‘How bad is it? He said you probably need to get downtown, mayor.’” 

The 150 mile per hour winds left the town unrecognizable. Leveling neighborhoods, businesses and leaving many without a home to return to.

There were 500 homes with minor damage, and 120 businesses hit. 189 new residential permits were also requested for new homes along with 53 new commercial building permits.

In the aftermath, residents of Bowling Green worked 6,179 hours clearing debris.

“There were no egos, everyone worked together to do what was right, and it was the ultimate collaboration to see people and how much they helped and how fast it happened,” Alcott said.

That’s when the community rallied, setting up donation and shelter hubs, delivering meals, and getting boots on the ground to help with clean-up.

“This community has figured out a way to get through that and we are still rebuilding. It’s taken time,” Alcott said. “We also have long-term recovery groups, we have incentives for our small businesses to be able to give them tax rebates for the next five years for their employee tax and for their real estate tax.”

It’s an effort to rebuild the city back to where it was, perhaps better than ever.