storm photo

Kings Highway residents Ronald (left) and Regina Sykes (right) and grandson Caleb Shower sort through storage building debris  Monday morning after a tornado struck their home Sunday night around 9:30. At least 10 homes were damaged in that area, numerous storage sheds were destroyed and lots of trees were uprooted.  (Photo by David Helms)

A tornado, which originally formed in Calhoun County, swept through southern Pontotoc County Sunday (May 2) night around 9:30 p.m. damaging at least 10 homes on the southern end of Kings Highway, Baron Lane and Wrights Way.

No one was injured or killed by the tornado which destroyed numerous storage sheds, uprooted dozens of trees and caused power outages.

On Monday morning Kings Highway residents were busy surveying property damage and sorting through storage shed debris for valuables.

But as homeowners recalled the storm’s quick fury, one central theme was repeated. While the tornado was touching down, residents said prayers were being lifted to God.

Residents Ronald and Regina Sykes said they were thankful no one was injured by the tornado.

“It happened really quickly and we were hoping and praying it would miss us,” Ronald Sykes said. “Thank God we were spared.”

The storm destroyed two backyard utility buildings, one downed tree struck the house and another damaged a car on the Sykes’ property.

“The trees and buildings were blown every which a way, and I just thank the Lord no one was hurt,” Regina Sykes echoed. “Just as the tornado struck my sister was pulling up to my house in her car and I’m so thankful she wasn’t injured.”

Sykes’ sister, Lesha Garmon, said the storm’s fury was very frightening.

“It was horrific, just horrific,” Garmon recalled. “It happened in a second and I was trapped in the car. Buildings and trees were flying everywhere, all that stuff was banging into the windshield and car.”

“Didn’t you hear me praying?” Garmon asked. “I was praising God with every breath, asking for help. It was really horrible, but my prayers were answered.”

Homeowners Erica and Charles Gilbert said they took refuge in their bedroom when the storm struck.

“When you look at all this damage and trees, it was a blessing no one was killed,” Erica said. “It blew some posts off the house and it blew that basketball goal from the other side of the house. And thank God that big tree fell away from the house.”

Unlike many tornado survivors, Erica said this storm didn’t sound like a train rolling through.

“We didn’t hear anything coming, it was real quiet outside and then in a second, the wind hit, and then it was gone,” she said.

“The wind and all didn’t give us any warning,” Charles Gilbert said. “It just happened. It felt like it lasted several minutes. We just thank God He’s still holding on to us.”

Baron Lane resident Winston Wright said his home was damaged by the storm and several trees falling.

“I’ve got roof damage and at least three column were blown off the house,” Wright said.

Wright’s son, Keves, said he took shelter in a closet.

“I didn’t hear anything coming like a train,” Keves said. “It was just like one big whoosh and felt like an earthquake.”

The path of damage was about two-tenths of a mile south of Valley Grove Baptist Church and approximately 2.5 miles south of Highway 278 four lane. 

Pontotoc County Emergency Management Director Allen Bain said the initial storm damage survey Monday included eight brick homes and two mobile homes.

“Weather Service personnel are in the area doing a damage assessment of the entire storm path and they will determine the velocity of the storm later,” Bain said. “We’re thankful no one was injured."

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