Storm damage minimal across Obion County

Storm damage minimal across Obion County
From AP, staff reports
Obion County Highway Superintendent Gary Lofton hit the road about 5:30 a.m. to check out the overnight storm damage.
“So far we’ve had just a few trees down and a few limbs in the roadway,” Lofton told The Messenger from his cell phone about 8 a.m. today.
He and his road crews were out inspecting county roads and clearing trees and limbs from roadways. Lofton said there were trees and limbs over the roadway in the Clayton and Harris Station areas and he had to close Overcast Road off Pleasant Valley Road south of Union City.
“So far, we’re in pretty good shape,” Lofton said.
He described the damage from powerful overnight storms as relatively widespread across Obion County. Strong winds, heavy rains and some hail were reported as the storm front moved through the county Sunday night.
Lofton said he expected he and his crews would be busy most of the day today clearing away roads across the county.
Union City Police Chief Joe Garner told The Messenger this morning a tornado warning was issued for Obion County shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday, prompting the city to activate its tornado sirens. Garner said the storm path went through southeast Obion County overnight.
The storm front that roared through Obion County was a violent storm, but wasn’t nearly as catastrophic as storms that struck other areas across the Mid-South overnight.
Two people were killed in the Birmingham, Ala., area as storms pounded the South and Midwest, prompting tornado warnings in a handful of states early today.
Jefferson County, Ala., sheriff’s spokesman Randy Christian said a 16-year-old boy was killed in Clay and an 82-year-old man died in the community of Oak Grove.
A storm system produced a possible tornado that moved across northern Jefferson County around 3:30 a.m., causing damage in Oak Grove, Graysville, Fultondale, Centerpoint, Clay and Trussville, Christian said. He said several homes were destroyed and numerous injuries were reported.
“Some roads are impassable, there are a number of county roads where you have either debris down, trees down, damage from homes,” said Yasamie Richardson, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. Jefferson County experienced “significant damage,” she said.
As day broke, rescue crews used chainsaws to clear fallen trees off roads in Clay, northeast of Birmingham. Searchers went door-to-door calling out to residents, many of whom were trapped by trees that crisscrossed their driveways.
Stevie Sanders woke up around 3:30 a.m. and realized bad weather was on the way.
She, her parents and sister hid in the laundry room of their brick home as the wind howled and trees started cracking outside.
“You could feel the walls shaking and you could hear a loud crash. After that it got quiet, and the tree had fallen through my sister’s roof,” said Sanders, 26.
The family was OK, and her father, Greg Sanders, spent the next hours raking his roof and pulling away pieces of broken lumber.
“It could have been so much worse,” he said. “It’s like they say, we were just blessed.”
In Clanton, about 50 miles south of Birmingham, rescuers were responding to reports of a trailer turned over with people trapped, City Clerk Debbie Orange said.
In Arkansas, there were possible tornadoes in Arkansas, Dallas, Lonoke, Prairie and Cleveland counties Sunday night. The storms also brought hail and strong winds as they moved through parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois and Mississippi.
Tornado warnings were issued for parts of Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.
The storm also caused officials to reschedule a planned meeting today in Montgomery to receive a study on Alabama’s response to a system of killer storms that raked the state last April. That storm killed more than 240 people in the state. Among the hardest hit areas then was Tuscaloosa, where 50 were killed.
Published in The Messenger 1.23.12

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