GEORGE COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - First responders, utility workers, and emergency management teams are busy across George County after an apparent tornado touched down in several areas Tuesday morning. A strong line of storms moved through the area around 10am.
“Looks like there’s abut a quarter mile width on this tornado that came through here,” said George County Beat 3 supervisor Larry McDonald while standing on East Wilkerson Ferry Road. “It left here and went across Basin Central Road and did some damage up there, went across Basin Refuge Road and looks like it exited out Highway 63.”
The roof was ripped off a house where he was surveying damage. A woman and her 10-year-old daughter were inside the house, but were not injured.
Ronda Whitmer and her husband Scott were inside of their home in Agricola when they heard an unmistakable noise.
“All the rain just started pounding at the wall and then you start hearing what sounds like a freight train," said Ronda Whitmer. “I mean it truly sounds like a freight train,” said Ronda It’s a sound I never thought I would hear."
The strong winds ripped off sections of the metal roofing of the Whitmer’s barn, landing in the neighbors yard, around one football field away.
“We came and looked out back and saw half the shed down on the ground, but, it was pretty intense," said Rhonda Whitmer. "Not something you want to experience, at least close up hand.”
A large area of damage was reported along East Wilkerson Freey Road. Luckily, the worst damage was to buildings and trees, rather than people. MEMA reports that two people suffered minor injuries during the storm when their vehicle flipped.
In Benndale, southwest of Lucedale, Tommy Thompson was walking out to his truck when he saw the tornado coming. The wind knocked a tree down on top of his house near where his mother-in-law was sleeping. It also flipped the metal car port through the air, damaging one of the cars that had been under it.
“I looked over this a way in the field and all I saw was a tornado coming, and I run inside and told my family to get in the bathroom,” Thompson recalled. “By the time I got inside, everybody was in the bathroom.”
Thompson, who lives in the house with his wife, four children and mother-in-law said, “Thank God [the tree] didn’t fall all the way in on her. We’re just blessed to be alive.”
Crews from Singing River Electric Cooperative were spread across the county repairing downed power lines. A spokesperson said about 1200 customers lost power, 800 of them were in George County.