Adams, Franklin counties see substantial damage

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 11, 2008

NATCHEZ — A preliminary damage assessment shows two homes as uninhabitable and 25 structures showing damage in Adams County.

“I’m talking about definite in need of repairs,” Adams County Emergency Management Director Stan Owens said.

Parkway Baptist Church, the Mississippi Department of Rehab, Christine and Henry’s gas station, the Department of Corrections and the country maintenance headquarters on Liberty Road all suffered damage.

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The National Weather Service has not confirmed any tornadic activity in Adams County resulting from Tuesday’s storm.

But some residents in one Natchez neighborhood think differently.

Kay McNeil, who lives on Westwood Road, said she is positive a tornado caused the damage that can be seen around her neighborhood.

McNeil, originally from Kansas, said she has seen several tornados in the past, and she’s familiar with the unique sound they make.

“It sounded like a freight train,” she said. “And I knew it was a tornado.”

And not far from McNeil, residents on Espero Drive were busy cleaning up in Wednesday’s cold drizzle.

Robert Marler lives on Espero and said he thinks it’s possible it was a tornado that knocked down a pine tree in his yard.

“It could have been,” he said.

Marler said when he looked out of his back door Tuesday night the wind was blowing hard in one direction.

“It was very loud,” he said.

Just a few doors down, Bennie Gorum said the loud winds prompted him to look out of his door dunring the peak of the storm.

“It was so loud,” Gorum said.

And Gorum was lucky. An enormous tree blew down in his yard — and landed on his neighbor’s house.

“I think it’ll be OK,” Gorum said.

Roughly 4,000 Entergy customers were without power Tuesday evening and power has not been completely restored to the city.

Entergy Customer Service Manager Stephen Caruthers said late Wednesday afternoon approximately 1,700 customers were still without power.

He said power should be fully restored today.

Duncan Park saw substantial damage.

“We have a disaster zone again,” Recreation Director Ralph Tedder said.

The irrigation pump house was blown away and a light pole at one of the baseball fields snapped in half.

The new nine holes of the golf course saw the worst damage from fallen trees.

Tedder said between holes one and four alone, there are 17 fallen trees or treetops.

On the old nine holes, a large 80-year-old tree was blown down, Tedder said. He said the way it has fallen will not cause closure of that side of the course.

Because the ground is saturated from the rain, Tedder said it’s going to be a little while before they can even begin clean up.

In the meantime, the new nine holes are closed indefinitely.

Benches and fencing at the tennis courts were also damaged.

Franklin County saw a lot of damage from the storm.

Franklin County Emergency Management Director Mark Thornton said a tornado developed near Hamburg but did not touch down.

He said 15 cars in that area had all the windows broken out from the high wind pressure of the tornado.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Latrice Maxie said there was a report of a tornado in the Hamburg area but it has not yet been confirmed.

Substantial damage to several homes has also been catalogued, Thornton said.

“There are five homes that are damaged pretty heavily,” he said.

Six mobile homes have been deemed uninhabitable.

“The trailers have holes in the sides of them,” he said.

Six storage sheds were completely destroyed, too, Thornton said.

Between four and five roads were blocked by fallen trees and there were some power outages.

No businesses were affected by the storm and there was no flooding, Thornton said.

Wilkinson, Amite and Jefferson counties did not get any damage.