Mississippi Storm Overturns 25 RV TrailersBy: Brian Powell - April 15, 2014
At approximately 8 p.m. Monday night, the Santa Maria RV Park in Gautier, Mississippi experienced a strong storm which left as many as 25 RV trailers damaged or destroyed in its wake, along with downed power lines and much debris.
Fortunately for the Gulf Coast community, the intense damage to the RV park only left two people injured badly enough to be taken to the hospital; 23 other people were treated for minor injuries at the scene.
According to The Weather Channel, no severe storm warnings were issued when the storm blew through, perhaps adding to the amount of damage sustained in the trailer park.
While the intensity of the damage seemingly indicates a tornado passing through, meteorologists are reluctant to support such a claim.
“Archived radar indicates a cluster of thunderstorms accelerated and took on a bow-shaped appearance around the time of the Gautier event. This is suggestive of straight-line wind damage. This transition to a bow-echo happened quickly, as the cluster moved into Jackson County, Miss. The sharpness of the reflectivity gradient in radar imagery suggests a wet microburst also may have occurred,” reported Jon Erdman, senior meteorologist at weather.com.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross were on-scene quickly following the end of the storm to assess the damage and help those affected by the strong winds.
“Well, we’re just looking at the damages, assessing what’s happened. We don’t know exactly how much damage we have yet, but have at least 25 trailers so far,” stated MEMA Area Coordinator Carolyn Nelson.
While few residents were injured significantly, the community was still taken aback by the suddenness and severity of the storm itself:
“Well, they say it sounds like a freight train, but I’m gonna have to say it sounds like two freight trains because it was just deafening. It was just so loud,” recalled Santa Maria RV Park resident Rob Quinn.
Forewarned by the cacophonous noise, Quinn immediately sought to protect those most dear in his life.
“I grabbed my wife, grabbed the dog, threw us on the couch. Thank God we did because the hold on the slide-in slammed in and we would have been killed.”
Trailer park resident Harold Robbins also recounted his experience with the storm: “The front end [of the trailer] flipped. It launched me back into the back end. Then it flipped over on the other side and came back up in the air and landed on our car.”
Robbins was later treated at a local hospital for minor injuries.
Almost all of the displaced families were able to find a place to stay following the incident, but the Red Cross is still on the scene and looking to assist any victims.
“We don’t know the exact household composition, so we’re going to try to reach out to all the folks, who had an RV here or were residents that were affected so that we can ensure that if there any additional Red Cross assistance that we can provide with clothing or food or emergency items such as toiletries, things like that,” reported Red Cross South MS Chapter Executive Jay Huffstatler.
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