South Mississippi Co. takes a hammering on Tuesday night

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The high winds took their toll on property and trees in South Mississippi County Tuesday night. The wind blew, the trees fell and the lights and water went out.

Residents of Mississippi county described the winds in a variety of ways. "They said it would be about two minutes before it hit Keiser but when I opened my door it was already there."

" It was a loud roar."

" The wind was blowing so hard, I really didn't know it was my tree until my neighbor came over to see about me."

It was a hard night on the people and trees in Mississippi County but there were some lucky or divine breaks as well.

Outside Althelstan a huge oak snapped in two but missed a house. Huge trees outside Kaiser fell on unoccupied farm buildings. In Kaiser, a hackberry tree fell tearing up a 6 inch water main. Forcing the shutdown of the city water system and a boil order to be placed.

Kaiser Resident Bobby Bell said the winds took them by surprise. Bell said the sirens didn't go off before the winds arrived.

Bell, "It just kinda had a big roaring coming through town so I just shut the door and all of us got into the hallway."

A large wooden storage shed in Kaiser was picked up and dumped, sending timbers slicing through a mini van and blowing out all it's windows.  The family cat rode out the storm in the shed and seemed none the worse for wear in the morning.

Restoring power to the Southern part of the county was going to take a while judging by the row of downed power poles down along Highway 181 and elsewhere.

In Wilson the volunteers were out in strength with pickups, chainsaws and old cotton trailers to haul off limbs and debris. Another home avoided disaster on Jackson street  where yet another huge oak fell and missed a home.

On Adams street a house wasn't so lucky. Owner J.C. Loyd was looking out the back door when his neighbors tree fell on his home.

Loyd, "The tree limb had fell out the back and I was looking at it when I felt the house shake then I come to the front and seen the damage at the front."

Besides crushing the roof, a couple of limbs ripped through the ceiling into the living room and another caused a leak in the ceiling. Volunteers from the Southern Baptist Relief Organization were trying to get the trunk off the house using chainsaws and a borrowed backhoe from a local farm.

Loyd, "They worked in Jonesboro on the storm damage over there and all over Arkansas and Missouri and different areas. And they are from all over the state." Those disaster relief teams will be staying in Osceola at the East Side Baptist church and more volunteers are expected to arrive today.

Moving toward Osceola along Highway 61 we encountered several Highway Department crews using saws and large equipment to remove limbs and trees from the Highway.

Mary Louise Roberts from Osceola said she was blessed that her monster Oak tree missed her house when it fell in the storm.

Standing behind the root ball which was probably 30 feet across, she pointed at the front of her house. "I was sitting in the living room right there and if it had fell towards my house I wouldn't be here so I say thank you God cause I know he took care of me."

Mrs. Roberts and her husband had planted the tree 57 years ago when they bought the house. Roberts said she will be sad when it is gone but very thankful no one was hurt. She said she didn't even know it fell until a neighbor knocked on the door.

Signs took a beating in Osceola and the roof was ripped off the Mobil station and gas pumps were toppled at a Shell station out by the interstate.

There were no serious injuries or deaths reported in Tuesday nights storm.

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