TUPELO • A severe storm that tracked through at least five counties Sunday night caused widespread damage in Calhoun City and Tupelo.
The National Weather Service dispatched two survey teams from their Memphis office, Monday, to determine if the damages were caused by straight line winds or a tornado. One team started in Calhoun County and followed the path to the northeast. The second team started in Itawamba County and back tracked the damage to the southwest. If there is evidence of rotation, they will assign the tornado a strength level.
The path of destruction began in Calhoun City after 9 p.m. Aerial photos by the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office showed at least one building on South Main Street was destroyed. The roof was ripped off and debris was scattered throughout the area,
Calhoun County Sheriff Greg Pollan said light poles were snapped and thee were trees on cars and houses. He said there were no reports "at this time," and he was asking people to stay off the roads and give emergency personnel time to open the roads.
The storms left about 1,500 houses without power in Calhoun County Sunday night. Natchez Trace Electric Power Association crews restored power to the bulk of the homes by Monday morning. According to Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, replacing broken poles delayed the remaining 400 houses.
The storm left Calhoun County and travelled through the northwest corner of Chickasaw County but did not cause any appreciable storm damage, said Chickasaw County Sheriff James Myers.
That was not the case when the storm rolled into Pontotoc County.
"We had some damage in the Black Zion community, off Kings Highway," said Pontotoc County EMA director Allen Bain. "It is one the Lee County line and it looks like it was the start of the storm that went into Tupelo."
He said it did not appear a tornado actually touched down in the eastern Pontotoc County community.
"We had six homes damages and on one mobile home, the roof was completely gone," Bain said. "Several metal out buildings and garages were moved off their foundations or destroyed. There are a lot of trees down and Beagle Club Road is still closed (Monday morning)."
The storm caused a good bit of damage as it went through Tupelo, leaving downed trees and roofs damaged from the southwest near Tupelo High School, through the center of town and especially in the northeast area near Veterans Boulevard and Interstate 22.
Tupelo Fire Chief Thomas Walker said his crews started getting calls at 10:07 p.m. Over the next four hours, firefighters responded to everything from power lines on the ground to property damage to trees in the roads and one gas leak, caused by an uprooted tree,
"Most of the damage seemed to be straight line or rotational, that took down some trees or pulled shingles or siding off houses," Walker said. "I don't know if it actually touched down but it got down to the tree top and roof top level in several places, especially on Elvis Presley and Oakview,
There was no significant damage as storms passed through the northwestern corner of Itawamba County. Director of Emergency Operations Patrick Homan said there were some reports of minor damage and downed trees.
“There were some trees and power lines down and in one case some tin blown off a building in the Ratliff area," Homan said. "Also, there were trees down in the Kirkville area, but other than that we were spared. We were very lucky.”
Itawamba County Times Managing Editor Teresa Blake contributed to this story.