As a strong line of storms moved through our area Sunday morning, March 16, 2014 the town of Atmore, AL became a target. Strong winds and a possible tornado ripped through the south side of the town scattering debris and doing significant damage to some structures.
The Burkes Outlet store off Hwy. 21 was destroyed by high winds. Other businesses and homes in the area suffered some damage though much less severe.
“I was up making tea for the morning and all of a sudden everything just went really dark. It was really black and then you could just hear stuff dinging off the glass,” recalled Samantha Burson who works at the Arby’s restaurant less than 100 yards from Burkes.
That’s when Burson says their sign was struck by lightning and power was lost.
“Just as fast as it moved in it moved out and we walked around the building and saw all the damages,” Burson said.
The outlet store was destroyed and the store next door was also damaged. Luckily, nobody was hurt.
Two blocks away on Presley St. A large pine tree uprooted and fell onto Lowell McGill’s house. It is unknown at this point whether or not the damage was caused by a tornado although the area had been under a tornado watch. McGill was just thankful he and his wife weren’t hurt. The tree that fell through his roof crashed into his bedroom.
“We were in it about 45 minutes before it hit. I feel real lucky today…sure do,” McGill said.
One look at his bedroom and you could see why. Clothes, a television, a computer and furniture all destroyed thanks to the gaping hole left in the roof over his bedroom.
“I heard it go over. I heard the tornado pass over and my house shook,” McGill recalled.
Luckily, nobody was hurt there either…something McGill’s grandson gave thanks for.
“I thank God that it didn’t get them and hurt them or anything and I’m glad it didn’t hurt my house or my friend’s house,” said young Rease McGill who lives next door.
Those are sentiments that the whole town surely shares.