Skip to comments.Jackson, Tennessee "UNBELIEVABLE DAMAGE"
Posted on 05/05/2003 2:07:37 AM PDT by Lucas1
*** 1 DEAD *** ONE FATALITY
CONFIRMED IN A SUBDIVISION THAT SUFFERED UNBELIEVABLE DAMAGE. REPORTED BY MADISON COUNTY EMA. (MEM)
Violent tornado apparently has tore through Jackson, Tennessee.
Tornados kill at least 14
By Melissa Linder and Troy Schneider
The Jackson Sun
May 5 2003
Several tornadoes and heavy winds killed at least 14 people in Madison County.
The fatalities were reported in rural Denmark in the southwest part of the county, to Lincoln Courts and Parkview Courts in the heart of Jackson.
Jackson Sun Photo - Damage to the post office in the wake of the storm.
- Ten people in Lincoln Courts, two at Parkview Courts and two residents living off Wells-Lassiter road were killed by the tornado, said Jan Boud, a spokeswoman for Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.
- Early reports from Henderson County show at least two deaths there, and heavy damage in the Lexington area.
- The storm began in the Midwest earlier Sunday and killed 28. It packed winds of at least 100 mph, golf-ball sized hail, heavy rains and lightning.
According to Mark Hollomon of the Madison County EMS the tornado touch downed at exactly 11:13 p.m. on Denmark-Jackson road in southwest Madison County. It followed a path of destruction through Madison County causing heavy damage to the Jackson Fairgrounds, Carl Perkins Civic Center, and the Jackson Police Department headquarters.
Downtown landmarks such as St. Luke's Church, Baker's Drugstore, West Tennessee Farmer's Market, the Aeneas Internet office building, the main branch of the U.S. Post Office and Mother Liberty CME endured appalling damage.
The tornado then paralleled Highway 70 going northeast damaging Proctor and Gamble and the National Guard Amory.
Madison County was declared a state of emergency by Jackson Mayor Charles Farmer and Madison County Mayor Jerry Gist around 3 a.m.
"It's really bad," Farmer said. "Until power is restored and until daylight we won't know how bad it really is."
Jackson Energy Authority officials said all water should be boiled before use. There was extensive damage to a water treatment plant which caused severe loss of water pressure and broken lines.
Emergency shelters have been set up by the city at Oman Arena and at Woodman of the World lodge in Beech Bluff.
Much of Madison County was left without electricity and water for the duration of today.
Cassandra Wilkins stood in her nightgown on the corner of Highland and Main streets with her family, after their duplex on South Royal was destroyed. They left their house in such a panic, two of Wilkins' children left with no shoes.
"It took our house; we don't have anywhere to go," Wilkins said to her mother, as she borrowed a cell phone from a stranger.
Jackson residents said they have not felt the wrath of a tornado this powerful since January 1999, which left several dead and hundreds of homes destroyed.
"This tornado was a whole lot worse than the '99 tornado," said Alan Hudson, an employee of the New Southern. "I was trying to get my mother downstairs, and the storm flung me at least 20 feet. It sucked me down the damn steps." Hudson's mother sustained a broken nose and a bruised hip from the fall.
Hudson and his co-worker, David Chandler, ran up and down the stairs of the New Southern to make sure all the residents went to the basement to take cover.
Chandler said he was in Beech Bluff during the 1999 tornado, and this one was more severe.
Emergency officials flooded the downtown area to help the injured, clear debris from roadways and protect local businesses against looting.
Walking the streets of downtown, one was strapped to find a clear path of road from downed streetlights, power lines, tree limbs and bricks. The windows were blown out of the popular downtown restaurant, Dixie Castle, but the salt and pepper shakers and napkin holders appeared unmoved on the tables.
Tom Mott and his son, Tom Mott Jr., were at Herron Yarbrough Wheel and Brakes on Lafayette St., assessing damage to their family's business. They drove in from Huntersville, ready to lend a hand in clearing large debris with a backhoe.
"We drove by the hospital to see if we could help clear a path for ambulances," Mott Sr. said. "If we had to move some trees, we can."
W. Matt Meyer contributed to this story.
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