10/24/2012 6:00:00 AM EF-1 tornado touches down here
By STEVEN THOMAS Staff Reporter
An EF-1 tornado destroyed an apartment and shop in the Beat Line community Thursday morning, trapping the owner and his wife inside for about 15 minutes before first responders rescued them.
Willard Posey, a former Neshoba County supervisor, was asleep in bed with his wife Eunice when the tornado struck their apartment in the shop on county Road 519 at 1:15 a.m., as they were sleeping.
"When it happened it was a matter of seconds when it exploded on me," Posey said of the shop and apartment.
Posey said they heard a "bad racket" for just a few seconds and then the wind calmed.
After the tornado had passed, Posey said he and his wife spent 15 minutes trapped inside the rubble.
No one was injured, he said.
County Line Volunteer Fire Department responded and extricated the Poseys through a window.
"We carried her [Eunice] through like a log," Posey said.
Officials from the National Weather Service in Jackson toured the site Friday and determined that an EF-1 tornado touched down.
Neshoba County Emergency Management Director Jeff Mayo said that the tornado left a mile-long path along Road 519.
Several houses were damaged in the storm. A mobile home was lifted off its blocks while another had its skirting blown off. A storage shed was damaged, a support beam on a porch was blown down and various vehicles and equipment were damaged, said Mayo.
A tornado had been reported in Newton County about the same time it struck the Posey residence, he said.
"It looked like real strong winds on the radar for Neshoba County at the time," Mayo said, noting the county was under a tornado watch at the time.
The day after the storm struck, representatives of the National Weather Service in Jackson toured the damaged area.
Greg Garrett, of the National Weather Service, said they would assess the damage to determine an estimated wind speed.
"This is the first place we started and we'll continue along the damage path," he said in making the assessment.
Tornadoes are rated on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. An EF-1 tornado can sustain winds from 86 to 110 miles-per-hour.
Todd Mosley, Community Response Coordinator for the East Central Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross, said that residents affected by the storm here were able to utilize their insurance and stay with family members.
"We did not have to provide financial assistance," he said.
This is the first tornado to strike Neshoba County since the April 27, 2011, EF-5 tornado that tore a 22-mile path from Northside Park to the Coy community, Mayo said.
That tornado destroyed or damaged 91 structures and 32 county residents were displaced in the wake of the storm which packed winds up to 205 mph.
For the night and morning of Oct. 17 and 18, the National Weather Service counted 10 tornadoes in Mississippi.
Seven people were injured in the storms, though none were life threatening.
The largest tornado traveled from Scott County into Newton east of Jackson, a total of 16 miles. It was rated EF-3 with peak winds at around 140 mph.
Other counties affected were Bolivar, Coahoma, Desoto, Grenada, Humphreys, Leake, Sharkey, Tallahatchie, Tate, Union, Washington and Yazoo.