Surviving the Storms: County works to repair damage, help others who suffered more
By Jeff Whitten
Staff Photo by Jeff Whitten
TOP: Kevin Hickman loads supplies collected by Monogram Friday for 50 families hit by Alabama storms. MiIDDLE: One of two new bridges on Tull Road that were completely washed out during last week’s storms. LOWER: A worker surveys the tornado damage to Old Tyme Hardware on Highway 57 in Pickwick on Friday.
Damage to roads and bridges from flooding occurring last Tuesday and Wednesday is nearly as great as that which occurred in May 2010, according to McNairy County Road Superintendent Harvey Neal Smith.
While flood damage was not quite as much as then, it is not far from it, he said.
The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for McNairy County Tuesday. As of press time, flash flood warnings were in effect for McNairy and West Tennessee until 4:15 a.m. This morning.
According to the statement, five to ten inches of rain have fallen across the area, with 12 inches in some places, and widespread flooding is occurring in West Tennessee.
Statewide, there have been at least 36 deaths and 94 injuries related to the weather, as of Monday, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA). There were also 58,019 people without power, TEMA reported.
Last week, a record 312 tornados ripped across the Southeast.
As of Saturday, at least 355 people had been confirmed dead, including 254 in Alabama alone. A tornado in Tuscaloosa killed at least 36 people. Mayor Walt Maddox estimated cleanup costs of $100 million, according to the Tuscaloosa News.
According to the Weather Underground website, 4.74 inches of rain fell last Wednesday at Corinth, the nearest reporting station to McNairy County.
“It’s pretty big,” said Rudy Moore, McNairy County Emergency Management Director.
Last Thursday, McNairy County Road Superintendent Harvey Neal Smith said roads were damaged in about 40 places, with sections of three to four roads closed.
Tuesday morning, Smith said that only one road, the Enville Bottom Road, was closed and would be reopened by either Tuesday or Wednesday.
There was no structural damage to any bridges, only washouts, he said.
He estimated that the flooding did around $250,000 in damage.
Smith said Thursday road crews would be working all weekend and hoped to have all roads and bridges reopen by Monday.
“We’d just like everyone to be patient. It takes time to repair what it takes mother nature a few minutes to damage.”
However, other than that, Moore said he did not have reports of major damage except for a few trees down.
Moore also said he did not have any reports of tornado sightings.
The National Weather Service did issue a couple of tornado warnings last Tuesday night. Radar indicated a tornado near the Good Hope community, 11 miles northeast of Selmer and one 18 miles south of Bolivar.
Earlier, they issued a severe thunderstorm warning. Radar indicated a thunderstorm, producing golf-ball-sized hail and 60 miles per hour, 12 miles south of Big Hill Pond State Park.
An EF2 tornado destroyed the Old Tyme hardware store on Highway 57 in Pickwick. These tornadoes pack winds of up to 130 mph.
Schools were closed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week due to the road closings, but reopened Monday, according to Director of Schools Charlie Miskelly.
Having again dodged any major destruction, McNairy Countians are chipping in to help the victims of the storms.
The McNairy Regional Alliance (MRA) is partnering with The Alliance in Corinth, Miss. to collect canned goods and bottled water. Citizens can drop off canned goods and bottled water at MRA at 144 Cypress Ave. in Selmer.
Monogram collected supplies for 50 families hit by the storms.
Mt. Gilead Baptist Church partnered with the Amory First Baptist Church in Amory, Miss. to collect supplies and monetary donations for families in Smithville and Wren, Miss.
What you can do? To help the storm victims in Alabama, citizens can drop off canned goods and bottled water at MRA at 144 Cypress Ave. in Selmer. You can also bring school supplies, personal care items or donations to Hall’s Realty or call Vonda Burns at 645-8868.