The Kentucky Tornadoes caused widespread damage, displacing thousands of people, and killing nearly 100. On par with some of the worst Tornadoes in American history, the EF2 tornado also rolled through the GM Bowling Green Assembly plant – the only place in the world that builds the C8 Corvette – which left it heavily damaged and in need of repairs. The same can be said for the National Corvette Museum nearby, as well as the NCM Motorsports Park.
According to a USA Today report, the death toll is still rising, at the time of this writing it sits at 88. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear gave a press conference on Saturday morning stating “The level of devastation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”
A flyover from a local news station shows the extent of the damage on the surrounding facilities.
The tornados themselves ripped through states spanning from Arkansas to Kentucky reaching as far East as Bowling Green. Per a Corvette Blogger report, The National Corvette Museum and Bowling Green Assembly plant will be shut down for at least a week. The Bowling green plant is the only plant to produce Corvettes in the world and has been the home of building Corvettes for 30 years. Damage sustained include a massive hole punched in the roof, while some C8 Corvettes seem to have been hit by debris. The NCM Motorsports Park seems to be the most heavily damaged, based on the arial footage above, with garages ripped apart, C8 Corvettes buried in the wreckage, and the Holley Control Tower extensively damaged.
No GM employees are known to have been displaced or injured during the havoc. The company has sent crews and equipment from both nearby Spring Hill Assembly in Tennessee, and the Factory Zero plant from Detroit. Repairs are expected to start as soon as possible. GM has also donated $1 million USD to the American Red Cross to assist affected communities, while local plant management is working with the city of Bowling Green on how to best lend a helping hand.
The Bowling Green Corvette assembly plant produces the every variant of the C8 Corvette, which is beginning its 2023 model year soon, highlighted by the 670 horsepower 2023 Corvette Z06. Attached is the Performance Build Center, where trained builders assemble special engines by hand, such as the 5.5L LT6 flat-plane crank V8, which is going in the Z06.
Specific details on what took the biggest hit and what was actually damaged are still developing, however a local news report mentions a fire was spotted on the roof of the Bowling Green plant. There were also reports of employees in the building during the time of the storms, but per a written memo all souls inside have been accounted for and are safe.
In a different Corvette Blogger post a piece of the assembly plant and museum was found 30 miles away in a town named Kessinger. A woman stumbled upon an entrance sign among the rest of the wreckage of the storm. Whether she kept it or not is unknown at this time.
If you want to help the victims of the storm, the University of Kentucky College of Medicine has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help those affected.