By Jeff Clark/Monroe Journal and Lynn West/New Albany News Exchange
The damage from Saturday’s tornado in Monroe County, as bad as it was, could have been worse, emergency officials said Monday.
And in Union County, supervisors said the destruction did not appear as severe as reported earlier.
The two Northeast Mississippi counties both felt the fury of the tornadoes, part of a system that killed 10 people elsewhere in the state.
According to Monroe County Emergency Management Director Bunky Goza, one person suffered minor injuries from a tornado that struck Hamilton.
“The National Weather Service came out and evaluated the damage and they are saying it was an F1 or F2 tornado,” Goza said.
Most of the damage, he said, was in the Center Hill, Grubbs Springs, Gardner and Hamilton Road areas.
Goza said that 35 homes received minor damage, nine homes received major damage, six mobile homes had minor damage and three mobile homes incurred major damage. Three businesses received damage, one of which, Preston Dirt and Trucking, was destroyed.
“This could have been really bad, but fortunately it happened during the daylight hours and no one was killed,” Goza said.
In Union County, state officials had said Sunday that 63 houses were damaged. But county supervisors said Monday that structural damage was reported only on the property of Dan Hogue on Union Hill Road. Trees were knocked down in the Tate Lake area and minor wind damage occurred near Keownville.
Hogue had been at work at Southern Motion earlier Saturday. He thought the worst of the storm had passed and was about to return to his home before the tornado struck, knocking down scores of trees and damaging just about every structure on his property.
Despite several hours of stormy weather, the Hogues’ home and a manufactured home across the road sustained the only serious reported damage.
“I guess you could say we won the lottery,” he said.
Trees were down on the house and had punctured the top of a carport, damaging the vehicle under it. Several shop and outbuildings on the property also were damaged.
Within minutes, Hogue said, dozens of volunteers arrived to help cut up trees and remove debris. “We’re in a Sunday school class at Hillcrest Baptist Church and a majority of the people were from there,” he said, “but there were other friends, neighbors, people we didn’t even know and even some members from the West Union Volunteer Fire Department. I don’t know how they got here.”
Hogue said a representative from the National Weather Service did confirm the damage was caused by a tornado that was close to the ground but not on the ground; otherwise the home probably would have been destroyed.
Donations and concert
– TUPELO – The Red Cross will be at the “Tupelo Gives Back” concert tonight to take donations to help those affected by the storms that hit the state on Saturday.
The three-hour concert begins at 6 p.m. in front of City Hall.