NWS: Covington County tornado rated an EF-2Posted: Updated:
The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Covington County has been rated an EF-2, with 125mph winds, and a path length of 16 miles.
The tornado ripped through the County around 2 a.m.
We don't know how many homes have been damaged but at least seven people have been injured.
Some people are still unaccounted for, but no fatalities have been reported according to the Covington County Sheriff's Department.
New Hopewell Heights Apartments sustained significant roof damage. Insulation was scattered all around the buildings.
"Very blessed," said resident Atiya Barnes. "Very blessed. Because as you can see, we could've been dead and gone. Just a matter of a second."
Barnes and her family were asleep when the tornado hit.
"What I heard was just like a race car was coming towards us and I just yelled to them to hit the floor," said Barnes.
In the Hopewell Community, New Hopewell M.B. Church lost part of it's roof and also the steeple.
"It was heartbreaking but we'll get over it.," explained Pastor O.D. Evans.
Members say another tornado hit the church about five years ago. It was while they were holding a service. No one was there early Monday when the tornado hit, but they say the damage is worse this time.
"The fellowship hall, it is, I would say, totally demolished," said Evans.
Another man in the area lost the home he grew up in. He wasn't home last night, but his mom and sister were. Both were injured.
"I just lost everything," described Ernest Owens. "Everything just went...gone."
Collins Fire Chief John Pope says the majority of the damage is in the county, not the city. The only school closed in the area is Hopewell Elementary, due to power outages.
The National Weather Service has confirmed a dangerous tornado on the ground near Jefferson Davis county at 2 a.m. The storm moved quickly throughout Covington County at around 55 miles per hour.
NWS also reported the worst of the storm near Taylorsville at 3 a.m. A second rotation stemmed from that storm several minutes later.
Trees are down, power lines are down, and some homes completely destroyed. Southern Pines Electric, which first reported 1,100 outages early this morning, has crews in Covington, Jasper, Smith, Jefferson Davis and Simpson Counties working to restore power.
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