AFTERMATH: Cleanup continues after tornado strike

Published 4:00 am Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Betty Spann didn’t hear her weather radio go off early Sunday morning, but she heard a tornado siren and decided to get to her safe space.

“I got my hearing aids, a hard hat and a blanket and went into my back hall,” Spann said. “It happened so fast; I didn’t hear any wind even, just a boom, which I think was my electric fan that fell in my kitchen. If I had not been hasty I could have been killed; the wind busted in some of the windows and I found a big piece of glass lodged in the upstairs bannister.”

Immediately after hearing the storm hit her house on West College Street, she called her neighbor with one question on her mind. “Is the tower there?” Spann asked.

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The neighbor confirmed that the home’s featured tower was no longer there. Spann stepped outside after the storm and discovered the debris from the structure in her back yard.

The tower is one of the best features of the house, Spann said, with everyone always asking about how to get up to the historic space. It had been damaged before by lightning twice and repaired; now Spann is hoping to have it replaced.

Spann also lamented the loss of the dogwood trees in front of her home, sharing fond memories of her father planting them there.

But Spann was grateful just to be alive, and that nobody else in the area was injured.

“It could have been much worse,” Spann said. “They’re just things. We’re really blessed.”

Spann’s home was one of many in the area damaged early Sunday morning when an apparent tornado touched down in the area.

The first signs of a tornado were reported in Crenshaw County just outside of Goshen.

The National Weather Service toured Goshen and Troy Monday morning to assess the damage, but EMA Director Herb Reeves said they probably won’t have a confirmation of a tornado until Tuesday morning.

“They’re going to go back and talk it over; it’s probably not going to be more than EF1 but I won’t know anything until they have a confirmation,” Reeves said. “The problem is it was not a path so much as a lot of little touchdowns. It touched down in Goshen, Hunter’s Mountain, near the Double Branch, and then in the area of College Street, Murphree Street and Three Notch Street. One possibility they were talking about is that it could have been two or three spin-ups all along a line there. We’ll know more tomorrow.”

Reeves said no shelters have been set up as few people have been completely displaced from their homes.

However, the American Red Cross set up Sunday afternoon in the Hunter’s Mountain clubhouse to assist affected residents and the Pike County Salvation Army was out at Hunter’s Mountain Monday with free lunch for tenants.

The Christian Love Center will also be giving out supplies Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to people who lost belongings in the storm.