Though strong winds during Friday’s storms pushed trees onto houses, power lines and roads, the Gadsden-Etowah Emergency Management Agency received no reports of injuries.
“We had some very close calls, based on stories I heard about people who were in a room and had just gotten up and moved to another part of the house before trees fell,” said Denise Cooey, GECEMA deputy director. “That’s really big, because we had a lot of trees on houses, and the numbers were huge to not have any injuries.”
Cooey said the agency received 42 reports of homes hit by trees, some of which caused enough damage to tear open roofs, exposing home interiors to Friday’s pounding rain. GECEMA provided tarps to help cover those holes until homeowners could contact their insurance companies for repairs.
Jackie Lowry, a spokesperson with Alabama Power, said that company engineers were faced with downed lines and poles, dropping electric service to areas of Etowah County. Damage was repaired and power was restored by Saturday evening.
Mark Rose, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham, said that radar data indicated that the southern part of Etowah County had been hit by a “bow echo,” a meteorological feature that develops along the edges of thunderstorms. The bow echo — which resembles an archer’s bow on radar screens — pushes out fast from the rest of the storm, leading to high winds that can cause damage like that seen over the weekend.
“It looks like it started to bow out in southern Gadsden, about 3 or 4 in the afternoon,” said Rose. “That tells me straight-line winds,…
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