Residents in the Natural Bridge Road / Highway 99 area of Waynesboro experienced Mother Nature’s fury in full force last Thursday night when a confirmed EF2 tornado with winds up to 130 mph touched down and destroyed homes and property. Thankfully, no serious injuries or loss of life occurred due to the damaging storm.
Wayne and surrounding counties were placed under a tornado watch earlier in the day on Thursday, March 25th when forecasters predicted that colliding warm and cold fronts could set the stage for a springtime tornado outbreak. A tornado warning was issued for Wayne County when the dangerous storm moving in a northeasterly direction toward us from Mississippi showed signs of rotation on radar.
Residents all across the county feared the worst when electricity went off and didn’t immediately come back on. Everyone’s worst fears were confirmed when word began to spread that a tornado had indeed touched down near Waynesboro.
Brittany (Stricklin) Lawson wrote on social media that about 20 people were huddled together in the basement of her parents’ (Mike and Carole Stricklin’s) home when the storm hit. The Stricklins’ home and family farm is located on Natural Bridge Road.
“There were about 20 of us huddled in the basement when it blew the doors in,” Brittany said. “We were running and screaming. It was trying to suck a few of us back. The house will probably be a total loss, but we are so blessed to all be safe.”
Large downed trees had to be cut away from the home before the people huddled in the basement could be rescued, but fortunately none were injured.
Large TVA power lines that feed the county substations were either heavily damaged or totally destroyed by the tornado. TVA and TVEC crews worked throughout the following days and nights to get power restored to Wayne Countians as soon as possible. The Wayne County Highway Department also put in long hours clearing debris to make all county roads passable once again.
One recurring theme among all the storm damage reports on television and social media has been the outpouring of assistance that Wayne Countians offer to one another during times of need such as this. We are truly blessed to have such fine citizens who are willing to help one another whenever the need arises.