Winds lift small restaurant at Pass Harbor with workers, owners inside

Winds lift small restaurant at Pass Harbor with workers, owners inside

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - It lasted less than a minute, but a series of strong winds came thrusting through the Pass Christian Harbor around 1:30 Friday afternoon. Those at the harbor said it started with rain and wind, but then suddenly things intensified out of nowhere.

Mother Nature closed in on Kimball's Seafood at the west end of the Pass Christian Harbor. One large cooler was pushed like a toy car into the roadway.

"I was hollering for everyone to go inside. It got pretty intense there wanting everyone to get into the hallway of the business," said Amy Rogers with Kimball's Seafood.

Panicked workers at businesses in the harbor said they experienced a sudden gush of intense air not once, but twice. They said it only lasted about a minute, maybe less. At the east end of the harbor, the owners of Sea Level restaurant saw debris flying and knew something was coming.

"My husband just yelled for everybody to get to one end of the building, where there was no windows and no equipment, and we just kind of huddled there," said Dana Barrett, co-owner of Sea Level.

Moments later the wind picked up, rain fell sideways, and mayhem set in.

"Next thing you know you could feel the trailer just being lifted up and I thought we were just going to go right over. And I didn't want anybody to get caught in any of the equipment," said Sea Level co-owner Thomas Barrett.

"It felt like you were on a ride and your stomach just dropped like you would if you were in a ride," said Dana Barrett.

The strong weather also shook Shaggy's restaurant. The owner said all the workers and customers inside evacuated into the kitchen until the weather died down. Luckily, the roof damage was quickly fixed. Pass Christian Harbormaster Willie Davis said in addition to damage to buildings, vessels also took a hit.

"Lots of sails got damaged. Lots of damage on a lot of the boats. Lot of the tops, t-tops got blown up," said Davis.

Some who had to ride the weather out were still pretty shaken up at the end of the day.  Surveillance video captures a Kimball's Seafood worker hiding behind a counter for safety.

"When I opened the door it blew open and stayed open and something actually flew and hit me in the back," said Rogers.

Thomas Barrett said he and his wife have dealt with bad weather before, but nothing like this.

"It was a scary experience because we knew it was it could have been life or death at that point. It felt like a ride, but in the back of my mind I thought this could be it," said Thomas Barrett.

Luckily, Davis said he's received no reports of any injuries. He's working on assessing all the damage at the harbor.

As to what actually caused all that damage, our WLOX weather team believes that sudden gush of air was actually something called a microburst.

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