Wind, not tornado, hit Demopolis

Published 12:13 am Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Straight-line winds blowing through Demopolis on Saturday caused a lot of damage, toppling trees and splintering tree branches that fell on power lines.

According to the National Weather Service bureau in Calera, a broad area of straight-line wind damage was surveyed in Sumter and Marengo counties. However the NWS added, there were no inducations that a tornado touched down.

The damage began in western Sumter County near Grimes Road and went to Demopolis on an east-northeast route. The most extensive damage came near Ward, Ala., where 30 to 40 large hardwoods were uprooted and a house received minor roof damage.

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In Demopolis, a number of trees were also toppled, notably a large tree in the field adjacent to the city landing, where most of the damage was caused. Alabama Power Company workers and city crews were hard at work Saturday, trying to repair damage done to power lines at the city landing and on Monroe Street where trees that were blown down or splintered fell on top of the lines, bringing down power poles.

The National Weather Service said that a wind gust measuring 71 miles per hour was measured in Demopolis.

A funnel cloud was spotted by personnel at the Demopolis Regional Airport on Saturday at about 11 a.m.

“It was the initial stages of a funnel cloud; it had rotation,” said Jason Pendergrass, who spotted the funnel cloud. “We didn’t actually get any real wind or hail at the airport. It passed on the north side of the airport and went on across the river (into Greene County).”

Marengo County Emergency Management Agency director Kevin McKinney said that almost all of the storm damage in the county on Saturday was in Demopolis.

“We did have a lightning strike at a home in Myrtlewood that caused a fire,” he said. “That was unrelated to the storm in Demopolis.

“There was about 15 pick-up trucks damaged in the parking lot of the city landing, as part of the bass fishing tournament. There were three injuries at the Greene County Steam Plant who were actually transported to the hospital in Demopolis. They were ‘walking wounded’ — scrapes and lacerations — caused by that wind storm.”