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Straight-line winds destroy barn in Lincoln County

The Mathis family of Old Red Star Drive awoke in a panic Monday morning to the sound of what they thought was a tornado.

Meade Mathis nervously leapt from his bed. He heard his father, Brad, yelling, “Tornado! Everybody get down!”

Mathis promptly fell to the floor and covered his head, preparing for the worst. After several moments of adrenaline-fueled terror, he rose to his feet.

“I heard a big gust of wind for only a couple of seconds,” he said. “I’ve never heard anything like it.”

Once the wind had completely subsided, the Mathis family composed themselves and went outside to assess the state of their farm. The storm’s overwhelming blast had drowned out all other sound, so, initially, they had no idea of how much damage their property had sustained.

“I kept wondering what the heck had happened,” Mathis said.

Several limbs were scattered across the driveway, a power line leading to a cluster of outbuildings was snapped and the roof of the family’s barn was totally collapsed.

The 100-year-old barn stands adjacent to the Mathis residence, and, although the building is antique, Mathis said it has always been very sturdy. Luckily, the structure is mostly used for storage, and no livestock was harmed when its rafters buckled.

Shortly after the storm, county officials scoured Old Red Star Drive for evidence of weather-related structural damage.

“The weather was just isolated right there,” Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey said.

According to the National Weather Service in Jackson, the Mathis barn was destroyed by straight-line wind and not a tornado.

A large tree fell behind the home of one of the Mathis’ neighbors, but, otherwise, no other damage was reported. The electrical lines along Old Red Star Drive escaped the storm unscathed, and area roads remained clear of debris.

“It’s different for us to see such little damage after a storm,” Galey said. “When the weather gets bad, we normally see more damage than this.”