Storm takes roof off barn, crashes windows (video of possible tornado)

Published 11:12 pm Monday, June 18, 2018

A survey team from the National Weather Service in Jackson will be in Lincoln County today to inspect damage from what could be a rare summer tornado.

The afternoon storm Monday blew out windows and took the roof off a barn at a private residence on Chatman Trail (also listed as Chatmon Trail on some maps) near Clarks Lake. No one was injured.

Shannon Davis of McComb shot video with his cell phone of what appears to be a tornado forming. He and some co-workers were at Lincoln Lumber when they saw bad weather approaching from the east.

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“We noticed that the storms were over there,” he said. “We happened to just glance over and saw it spinning. It started small, but it just kept getting lower. You could see the trees spinning around.”

He said the storm appeared to be moving south to north so he didn’t worry about it while it was visible.

“Once it hit the rain, you could tell when it mixed with rain coming down. That’s when it got bigger. Then it disappeared. That’s when I got worried,” he said.

Davis said they were all a bit jumpy the rest of the afternoon.

“For about two hours after that, we kept our eye out.”

Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey said the National Weather Service indicated the damage was done by a microburst, a short, intense downdraft in which thunderstorms release energy straight at the earth.

NWS meteorologist Thomas Winesett said they talked to Galey before viewing videos shot by Davis and others.

“The initial indication is that it could have been a microburst but now the current thinking is that it could be a tornado,” he said. “That’s why a survey team is coming to inspect the damage.”

He said the storms Monday are caused by tropical moisture coming off the Gulf of Mexico that is moving north.

Winesett said Davis’s three videos show the possible tornado the best.

“He has the best video of it,” he said. “His, by far, was the best angle.”

It’s rare for tornadoes to form in summer storms.

“We rarely see tornadoes form in June, but when they do, they come from tropical air masses like we saw today,” said NWS meteorologist John Moore.

The NWS also reported trees down in the area. The agency issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Lincoln County around 3:45 Monday afternoon just as the damage had occurred.