Throughout the latter half of last week the products coming from the National Weather Service had one glaring message… The weather was going to get ugly over the weekend and it could be one of those days that go down in the history books for others to read about years down the road. Some storms began to impact the area on Friday evening and Cuba Fire responded to a tree that was on fire in a pasture on the west side of town. Saturday morning found storms active and intensifying as they made their way toward the Alabama State line. The products from the Severe Storms Predictions Center had most of Alabama and Mississippi in a high risk of severe weather. The numbers for Tornadoes was off the chart and the threat levels attached to the PDS tornado watch were all listed in the high range. Around 0930, radar indicated a storm over the east Mississippi area that was getting its act together and was poised to move into the Sumter County area. Chief Vaughan received a phone call from the NWS in Birmingham about the cell and the call was put out on the network to get spotters in place. Ward was in the cross hairs of the storm and Chief Rew was in the car and on the road getting into position. Captain Culpepper (Cuba) was at home in the path of the storm as well. Two other units would join the chase, Safety Officer Holder and Engineer/Firefighter Scrivner (Cuba) got on the road as well.
The SPC did a great job with the forecast for this system. Nearly all of the tornadoes that developed occurred in the highest hatched area.
Radio reports began to trickle in from Lauderdale County, MS Fire Departments that areas were receiving damage. After the storm moved into the county Chief Vaughan spoke with the NWS again to confirm what he was seeing on radar. At the same time the phone call was going on Chief Rew reported a visual on a lowered cloud base around 1033. The lowered portion of the cloud rapidly developed into a funnel crowd and Chief Rew reported that there was possibly some debris near ground level. All units in the area followed the storm until it was clear of the area. Damage was observed on County Road 5 (Kinterbish) and on both sections of County Road 10 near Ward. The highest concentration of damage was at the intersection of County Road 9 and County Road 10. Around 20 trees were uprooted or snapped off and one home received damage. Ward, Siloam, Kinterbish, and Cuba units were placed into action to conduct damage assessments and to work on clearing roads. At one point dispatch advised that a woman was trapped by trees on County Road 10, but the individual was able to make it to their home without incident. All crews worked hard to get the roads clear and were assisted by several civilians. A temporary command post was established at the Ward Fire Station and the Coffee Pot was placed into swift action. All departments and their officers and firefighters did a great job throughout this event. The professionalism of the men and women in the departments covering south Sumter was clearly evident this weekend.
Trees uprooted on County Road 10.
Uprooted Tree even took the fence posts up for the barbed wire fence around the home and pasture.
Waiting on the tractors to do their work.