Poarch hard hit by storm

Published 11:49 am Wednesday, July 13, 2005

By Staff
The Poarch Creek Indian Reservation dodged Hurricane Dennis Sunday afternoon, but wasn't able to avoid the inclement weather altogether.
A spin-off tornado touched down in Poarch, leaving a path of uprooted trees, uncovered roofs and downed power lines.
Sells believes the tornado touched down in the Willow Creek subdivision scattering roofing shingles and continued its track behind the Poarch Creek fire and police departments. She suspects the tornado ended its destructive path just past the Pow Wow grounds where the cultural center is located. There it downed several trees and destroyed fencing and a pavilion.
Sells said it would be several days before Tribal officials could determine a dollar amount of damage caused by the storm.
Monday, several volunteers were on hand at the Arrowhead Park handing out bags of ice to those in the community without power or generators.
Ken Butler, an investigations supervisor with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, was also lending a hand in the Poarch community.
Butler said the demand for ice has been high.
Billy Barston of Barston Transportations out of Lakeland, Fla. which delivered 5,400 bags of ice to Poarch said even though the ice was going quickly, it usually goes quicker.
"It's got a little slower," Barston said. "Usually, like last year when the storm was a little bit more severe, there was a lot more demand. We would drop a trailer, go get another one and come back and drop it and take back the one we had."
Barston said 50 tractor-trailer loads of ice were shipped out of Jacksonville, Fla. during Dennis, but several have been put into cold storage because the demand hasn't been as high as it was during Hurricane Ivan.
He also said it makes him feel good to come to Alabama and return the favor.
Wayne Ramey Jr., of Leroy, was also in Poarch doing his part to help even though he isn't affiliated with any tribe or disaster relief group.
As for the help Poarch has been receiving, Sells was hard-pressed for words.
Fortunately, as with Atmore, no one was killed or seriously injured in Poarch, but Sells said Poarch reported to an accident Sunday evening on Atmosphere Road.
Overall, Sells was pleased with the Poarch residents' cooperation in evacuating the area. She believes Hurricane Ivan helped in the cause.

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