Tornado spotted in Sunday night storm

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 21, 2002

A severe thunderstorm containing a tornado rumbled through parts of Covington County Sunday night, resulting in minor damage to some structures and scattered debris.

According to Covington County Emergency Management Agency/E-911 Director Susan Carpenter, the storm resulted in some trees being blown down as well as damage to some homes. She said parts of the Carolina community were among the areas that received the most storm-related damage and debris.

Carpenter said trailers were also shifted during the storm.

"We were really fortunate," said Carpenter. "Apparently (the tornado) was a funnel cloud that stayed in the air during most most of the time it was in (Covington County) and if it touched down,

it touched down only briefly."

She said because the twister appeared to stay mainly in the air, it was difficult to predict what magnitude the tornado may have been, although the tornado was detected by radar.

She said the storm entered the county at approximately 6:30 p.m. and Carpenter said sirens were immediately set off once the tornado warning was issued for the county. She said the warning lasted until approximately 7:15 p.m.

"When the sirens started going off, we had a lot of people calling, and there was an overflow (of calls) at the communications center," said Carpenter. "If people have questions, they need to call when the weather is not bad, but when our sirens are sounding, people should immediately go to their safe place and start following their emergency plan instead of calling us."

She said other places reporting damage included Opp, where reportedly several people spotted the funnel as it entered the city.

Besides the splintered trees and minor damage to houses, such as shingles being removed, she said Covington County was fortunate to have been spared the brunt of the storm.

"We were fortunate that it was not worse (for the county)," said Carpenter.