EMA: Sirens sounded in entire county

Published 11:31 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Kristi Stamnes, director of the Covington County Emergency Management Agency and E-911, said major storm cells passed through Covington County between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Wednesday, with most damage concentrated in the Red Oak community.

“We saw that some residences that had some damage in the Red Oak community,” Stamnes said. “No injuries were reported. We saw substantial damage to a large wooded area with several trees that had been twisted and broken. The tornado seems to have traveled for approximately one mile causing some structure damage.”

Stamnes said numerous trees were uprooted in the area and the Mobile Weather Service will visit the area tomorrow morning to determine the estimated size and strength of the tornado, adding that weather for the remainder of the week will be relatively calm.

“We should be on the downhill side of things now,” she said. “The rest of the week should be nice.”

Stamnes said several calls were received from residents asking why tornado sirens had been activated in their area when the actual rotation was spotted several miles away.

“The weather service puts residents under polygon warning areas,” she said. “This means that we would not simply target one specific area say from Pleasant Home to Wing. If there is a tornado warning in our county, then we set all our sirens off. The storm could change directions at any time and move toward your area. It is impossible to predict the exact movement of a tornado.”

The first tornado warning occurred at approximately 1 a.m., when a strong storm cell capable of producing tornadoes was spotted near the Wing community. The second warning was issued at approximately 9:37 a.m. when a cell was sighted south of Pleasant Home. The third warning was issued at 10:20 a.m. for the Red Oak community. The fourth warning was generated for a cell sighted 10 miles south of Andalusia moving toward Opp at 10:35 a.m. and the final warning of the day was issued at approximately 11 a.m. for the Green Bay community.

For more information about how to prepare for a tornado and what actions to take when sirens sound visit the American Red Cross Web site at http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/keepsafe/tornado.html.