Parts of Irving College resembled a war zone after a tornado ripped through the rural community Wednesday, the twister inflicting massive damage in just a few terrifying seconds, leaving many happy to be alive.
“Preliminary results are that it was an EF-1 tornado,” said E-911 director Chuck Haston, who accompanied Emergency Management agents on their survey of the damage Thursday.
An EF-1 (Enhanced Fujita Scale used for rating the strength of tornados) encompasses tornadoes that have winds between 73 and 112 mph.
One woman was slightly injured when the mobile home where she was living was picked up by the tornado, the trailer disintegrating as it was swept several yards. The trailer’s contents were scattered over a wide area.
Jayme Harvey, who was inside the trailer shortly after 5 p.m., says she was standing in her bedroom when she felt the home lift and roll.
“It kept rolling and rolling and when it stopped over there I was under some stuff and I pulled myself out,” Harvey said, “I have a lot of cuts, but right now I don’t feel anything. I’m sure I will later.”
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the storm by the National Weather Service several minutes before it swept into Warren County from the southwest. The same system dropped a tornado near Shelbyville, leaving behind a swath of damage.
With the exception of the small part of Irving College which was hit hard, the rest of the county saw only heavy rain, some straight-line winds and pea-sized hail. It is suspected the tornado was a short-lived one, touching down before almost immediately lifting back up, explaining the isolated damage. Several residents captured images of the funnel cloud.
“It was pretty well that one area,” Haston said. “Immediately after it hit, we began getting calls about numerous sightings of a funnel cloud.”
Along with Harvey’s residence, other Irving College residents had severe damage to their homes.
Tex and Pam Perry, who live on the corner of Highway 56 South and Hill Road had their windows sucked out and a major portion of their roof blown off. Their car was also pushed into the side of their house.
“We knew something was coming, so we went down the road to my mother-in-law’s house to be with her,” Mr. Perry said. “I’m sure glad we didn’t stay here because it was bad.”
Near Irving College School on Dry Creek Road, the historic home of Twan Majors was damaged when a large tree slammed through her living room. The home dates back to 1876 and once belonged to well-known Judge Moffitt.
The storm also left many without power due to downed lines. Power was out for about four hours. Elements of the Warren County Highway Department, Ben Lomand and Caney Fork Electric, along with the Red Cross, assisted emergency responders at the scene.
Irving College School, located near the site where the tornado touched down, did not suffer any damage. Armstrong Cemetery had some stone and tree damage.