Storms cause damage in area

Published 11:29 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A tornado damaged at least two homes and numerous outbuildings Tuesday as thunderstorms raged through Covington County.

For more than two-and-a-half hours, the county was under a tornado warning during which a tornado made its way through the Pleasant Home and Red Oak communities.

The tin roof of the carport and skirting was blown off at the home of Gary and Louise Bass on St. Hwy. 55 — landing in a field and in the tree tops at least a half-a-mile from their home.

“I wasn’t home when it hit, but my daddy was,” said Louise Bass, whose father was visiting from Georgia. “He said it was over before he even knew it. He said he kept praying to the good Lord to keep the house safe — and look around — He did. It went all around, got the barn and a bunch a trees, but it didn’t touch the house.”

Their neighbor, Randall Helms, was just as lucky as the Bass family. The tornado hit two sections of Helms’ property and caused trees to completely block access to his home.

“It didn’t get the main house, thank goodness,” Helms said. “It did get a lot of the outbuildings. It got one storage shed. The top is gone off the barn and there are some limbs through the shop. We just had to cut our way through first.”

In a section of property closest to the road, Helms said a tree limb went through the roof of what used to be his wife’s gift store, The Back 40.

Sections of Red Oak were without power for only a short period of time before it was restored by crews from Covington Electric Cooperative.

First reports of the tornado came from the Cato area in Pleasant Home where it damaged a barn and some outbuildings.

Kristy Stamnes, Covington County Emergency Management Agency director, said it is unknown which storm cell spawned the tornado.

“Right now it looks like just one tornado,” Stamnes said. “We won’t know for a day or so how strong it was, but it looks like it started somewhere near Pleasant Home before making its way to Shiloh Cemetery Road in Red Oak. Then it came up through the woods before hitting the first property and continuing on.”

No one was injured during the tornado, Stamnes said.