Hundreds of homes damaged in Lee Co. tornado

OPELIKA, AL (WSFA) - There's no denying it.

"We've got a big mess on our hands," says Lee County Emergency Management Agency Director, Kathrine Raines.

Raines knows it'll take a while to clean up everything the tornado left behind.

Auburn officials estimate the tornado caused more than $2-million dollars worth of damage.

"We'll try to find someway to help them," says Raines.

But perhaps what helped officials the most was how prepared response teams were before the storm even struck.

"Department heads, fire chief, police chief, you name it they were there," says Ben Puckett.

He is a construction manager for Auburn's Public Works department. He says leaders from every city office met for a disaster training meeting the day before the tornado--not knowing they would quickly be forced to put their knowledge to the test.

"I mean the response was fantastic, the time was excellent. Everybody worked together as a team," he says.

Puckett believes the meeting was divine intervention. But fast response time or not, people are still without homes.

That's where other organizations stepped in.

"Sheltering, feeding, disaster assessment, public affairs and running the EOC," says American Red Cross volunteer Teddy Hampton.

He says crews were ready the moment the storm swept through the county.

"We were already talking to people and calling people well before this thing hit. We said look at the weather, be ready, get your phone, standby."

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