By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
PEARL RIVER COUNTY —
Less than a month after a large tornado hit the middle part of Pearl River County the northern part of the county was hit with a smaller, yet damaging, tornado.
No other tornado that has occurred in the county in recent memory can compare to the damage caused by the Christmas Day tornado that hit about three weeks ago, but Sunday a confirmed tornado did cause some damage to a small area off of Indian Springs Road near Poplarville.
The damage was localized to small buildings and vehicles, but was still indicative of a tornado. Mike Efferson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Slidell, La., said he plans to classify the tornado that hit Sunday as an EF-1, most likely involving winds at about 95 miles per hour.
Efferson said he estimates the tornado was about 150 yards wide and caused damage as it traveled along the ground for about a mile.
Emergency Management Director Danny Manley said had it not been for the Christmas Day tornado, Sunday’s tornado could have been the biggest one he has seen since he took over the position in 2008.
While the Christmas Day tornado caused extensive damage to many homes along White Chapel Road, Henleyfield McNeill Road, Joe Smith Road and Sones Chapel Road, the damage in Sunday’s tornado was done mostly to small buildings and vehicles.
“The one in McNeill was pretty exceptional,” Efferson said.
However, the damage caused by Sunday’s tornado was not so minor. Manley said one truck had a large tree trunk dumped straight on top of it, insulation from a private metal working shop was sprayed across adjacent trees, a trampoline was displaced to a neighbor’s home, and a shed nearby was relocated to the same home where the trampoline came to rest.
The strange thing about Sunday’s tornado is that it was not reported until a county building inspector passing by a home on Indian Springs Road discovered the damage, Manley said. For whatever reason residents in the area decided not to report the damage their property sustained to local emergency personnel.
In addition to the local residents choosing not to notify county personnel, the tornado was so short lived that radar didn’t pick it up, Manley said. It takes up to four minutes for radar to make a complete pass, he said. In instances such as Sunday’s tornado, emergency personnel rely on eye witness accounts or people whose property sustained damage to report the storm, Manley said.
Fortunately, just like the Christmas Day tornado, no one was killed during Sunday’s tornado, Manley said.