'It had to be a tornado'

Published 8:43 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
Doug Godwin stood on the front porch of his childhood home staring in amazement at the damage caused by Tuesday's storms.
The 65-year-old Bratt resident has become accustomed to seeing twisted metal and debris scattered throughout his front yard, his neighbors yard and even nearby fields. The force of yesterday's storm even scattered some debris nearly a quarter of a mile down the road to the local grocery store.
"This is my third go at this," Godwin said. "I'm tired of rebuilding it."
The metal roof to Godwin's 25×25 garage that housed two of his antique cars and his boat was torn off by the powerful winds that accompanied torrential rains just before noon in the small Florida community.
"It just picked the roof up and sent it over yonder," Godwin explained as he pointed to the nearby cotton field where debris rested about 300 yards from the garage's foundation. "It made one terrible racket going over the house. I heard a lot of rattling and told my wife that we better get in the hall. I didn't know if the house could handle it, but it's a good one."
Godwin's garage was first destroyed in 2004 as a result of Hurricane Ivan's powerful force. He said it later received more damage during a small thunderstorm before being torn apart again by Hurricane Dennis.
"It tore off things that Ivan didn't," Godwin said in a light mist as he pointed to the garage located less than 100 yards from his house. "But Dennis really put a damper on me. It cleaned it off."
In addition to the damaged garage, Godwin's pickup truck received minor scratches and dents.
"It had to be a tornado," Godwin said.
Additional damage was evident just down the road and across the street from Godwin's house making it easily assume that a tornado did touch down in the area. According to Don Shepherd, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mobile, the damage was a result straight-line winds that could have exceeded 50 mph.
"There were two different severe thunderstorm warnings for that area this morning around the time the damage occurred," Shepherd said. "We had pretty good indicators that the area received up to 35 to 50 mph winds which could cause that kind of damage. The Belleview community around Pensacola had damage that sounded very similar to the damage experienced in Bratt. We feel certain the damage was the result of straight-line winds and not a tornado."
As for Godwin, he's made the suggestion to his wife, Maxine that he might need to put up a "For Sale" sign.
"It's getting bad," he said. "I think I'm going to put the house up for sale and get out of this place. Nah, we'll get through it some how."

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox