Tornado touches down in Clayton, tearing homes apart; no major injuries

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 26, 2005

Watching TV in her bedroom, miles from the nearest airport, Joyce Green heard what sounded like a jet airplane screaming past just above her head.

Her husband, running down the hall, yelled for her to drop to the floor, which she did just in time to hear a tornado rip the roof off most of her house.

Still visibly shaken, Green looked up to mostly sunny skies through what &045; before the tornado touched down in Clayton, La., at about 1 a.m. Sunday &045; was once her roof.

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When it happened, she said, &uot;it happened so fast I didn’t have a chance to be afraid.&uot;

But now, Green said, &uot;I’m just dumbfounded. Thank God we’re OK.&uot;

Green and her husband are the owners of one of four houses on Loomis Addition Road damaged by the tornado, a spinoff of the remnants of once-Hurricane Rita.

While no serious injuries were reported from the storm, others saw much worse damage to their homes.

The Reed-Kelly family, across the road and just a couple of lots down from the Greens, were also at home when the storm hit.

Afterwards, all that was left of their property was a mobile home ripped in half down its length, leaving a cross-section of the home visible to the daylight.

The home’s roof lay on the ground a few yards away, crumpled like a gray piece of a child’s construction paper. Basketball posters were still on the wall of what appeared to once be a boy’s room; a child’s riding toy also lay partially covered by debris.

Although members of that family weren’t home, neighbors said the mother of the family was struck on the head by flying debris but wasn’t transported to the hospital by the ambulance.

They said members of that family are now staying with relatives in Vidalia after salvaging what little they could from their Loomis Addition home, just a stone’s throw south of the Tensas River.

Next door, Barbara Carter, her husband Troy and her mother-in-law, Catherine Tate, were in a front extension of the house just prior to the storm, bringing their dog’s kennel inside.

&uot;He said, ‘Get inside,’ and we hurried inside and forced the door shut. Then all we heard was thunder and then a big bang,&uot; Carter said.

Nearby, Tate and several other relatives and friends had already started to work later Monday pulling apart the boards of the roof of the house’s front extension, which the storm dropped in place in front of the house.

Tate still didn’t know quite what to think. &uot;I just came up here from New Orleans,&uot; said Tate, who lived in one of the worst-flooded sections of that city. &uot;And now this.&uot;

In other parts of Concordia Parish and in Adams County, however, the tornado seemed to have touched down in no other places, instead heading to nearby Tensas Parish.

High winds downed limbs throughout the area Saturday night and Sunday morning, and a few trees and limbs were reported on several houses.

In Adams County alone, about 5,000 Entergy customers and 1,200 customers of Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association were still without power as of Sunday afternoon, according to George Souderes, Adams County civil defense director.

Both Entergy and Southwest have said power could be out until the middle of this week, Souderes said.