Storms smash county

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, March 26, 2009

At 8:15 a.m., Chad and Shannon Williamson’s life changed forever as Thursday’s storm system destroyed their mobile home in Onycha’s Winston Harrison trailer park.

It was not the only home hit — five other residences and one business, as well as two chicken houses, sustained significant damage as straight-line winds cut across the small community outside of Opp.

The Williamson home was flattened. Luckily, the couple wasn’t home at the time, and as of Thursday afternoon, an army of family and friends were still sorting salvageable items from the debris.

Across the drive, the doublewide manufactured home of Virginia Harrison, co-owner of the park and grandmother to Shannon Williamson, had the roof torn off and significant structural damage done to the inside.

Harrison said she was across the road at another granddaughter’s house when the storm hit.

“All I can say is I thank God no one was hurt,” Harrison said. “I just can’t believe it. All this damage, and no one hurt. I’m thankful for that.”

Robert Norris lives across the street from both families. He saw the storm hit.

“I was standing at the door when it hit,” he said. “I can tell you it wasn’t a tornado. I do know that. All of a sudden, the wind got up like to 120 miles per hour. I looked across the street and ‘thump’ (the Williamsons’) trailer was gone. It was there and then it was gone.

“Then it hit Winston (Harrison),” he said. “And now they’re saying that the worst isn’t over. I thank the good Lord no one was hurt. It’s amazing.”