Jackson twister leaves minimal damage

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 9, 2004

JACKSON – A small tornado touched down here Wednesday morning, leaving a trail about 100 yards wide of damaged school buses, downed trees and other debris.

The twister ripped through the area at approximately 8:30 a.m., touching down directly behind Northampton County’s E-911 Center on Highway 305.

&uot;I was listening to the weather radio and the National Weather Service had just issued a tornado warning for our area,&uot; said Northampton County Emergency Rescue Coordinator Ron Storey, &uot;but no sooner did we hear the second warning that it was here.&uot; (Despite the almost sound proof walls, he could still hear the winds of the twister from inside the building).

Storey stated that the tornado touched down right behind the E-911 Center, hitting the school bus garage where it damaged the tops of four of the school busses, proceeded to the landfill where it picked up a county-owned trailer and dropped it upside-down with wheels in the air.

Landfill operator Melvin Stokes was just coming to work when he heard the winds picking up.

&uot;I had just gotten to work and got out of my car to open up the gate when I heard a strong wind and I looked to my left and I saw a swirling vortex of clouds really big on the top and about 20 feet wide at the base, pulling the escape hatches off the school busses parked down at the school bus garage,&uot; he said.

&uot;When I saw it coming this way, I hopped back in my car and watched as it picked up one of the mobile trailers and flipped it upside-down on its roof.&uot;

Storey explained that the twister continued traveling for another half mile or so down Pleasant Grove Church Road, damaging the house of Detective Bill Wheeler of the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, destroying some trees and outdoor buildings on the property and knocking out power lines as it departed, bouncing over Pleasant Grove Church, completely missing the structure and striking some trees in a nearby wooded area.

&uot;We’re very fortunate that the damage was minimal and we have had no reports of any injuries or fatalities of any kind,&uot; said Storey. &uot;People don’t realize that with a tornado you only get two to three minutes warning, but weather radios are extremely important in notifying you of severe weather.

&uot;Though you can’t stop the tornado from coming, you might be able to take cover and protect yourself and your family.&uot;