A storm system that moved swiftly into and across Atmore last Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 7) ripped down a large section of tree that took a power line with it when it crashed into a city-owned building, and neatly folded the roof of a local auto repair garage.
The adverse weather system’s fury reached its peak around 2 p.m., when dark clouds dumped buckets of rain and sent strong wind gusts racing through the city and surrounding area.
The fast-moving air currents sheared a large limb and section of stem from a tree just off North Main Street, near Oak Hill Cemetery. The toppled timber fell across a power line and crashed into the city-owned Friendship Club building that sits on the cemetery’s fringe, damaging the nearly vacant structure’s roof.
Mayor Jim Staff said the damage was such that it could be repaired, at nominal cost, by the city.
“It damaged the roof pretty good and broke one of the rafters,” Staff said Monday. “The firemen put a tarp on the roof to keep the water out, and the work-release people were out there today putting a new roof on it. The city is doing all the work, and the only cost is for the materials and supplies.”
Twisting winds also ripped the roof off Tedder’s Auto Repair, causing it to roll up and leave more than half the garage work area without cover from the elements as the storm moved through Atmore’s downtown area.
Bubba Tedder, who owns the repair shop, said heavy rain and swirling winds had made him decide to close the shop’s roll-up doors. He got one of the metal portals pulled completely down and was halfway to that point with the second one, when the dancing winds ripped the aluminum roof loose and folded it back on itself.
“When it tore the roof loose all of a sudden, it made a heck of a racket,” the local businessman said. “I don’t think I touched but one step (of the several that lead to the shop’s office, one level higher). I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t care what it was. I just got the heck out of there.”
Neither Tedder, nor his wife Cindy, their son, daughter-in-law or infant granddaughter were injured, and no customer vehicles were damaged. Tedder said he and his son repaired the roof themselves.
No other significant damage was reported, although at least one minor traffic mishap was attributed to the storm.