Wetumpka residents recall overnight tornado as cleanup gets underway

“The tree fell as soon as I put my hands on her in the baby bed. I heard it crashing behind me.”
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 5:52 PM CST
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WETUMPKA, Ala. (WSFA) - It was a long day of cleanup for some families in Wetumpka hit hard by Wednesday’s severe weather.

According to the Elmore County Emergency Management Agency, the worst hit areas were along Willow Springs Road and Jasmine Hill Road. Both are located just off busy U.S. Highway 231.

There were dozens of fallen trees, downed power lines, and damage to homes. Some trees had also fallen onto the rooftops of several houses.

Les Head, who lives off Willow Springs Road, said the storm hit within a matter of seconds.

“Sounded like a freight train, it sounded like a bomb went off,” Head explained, “and then it got real quiet again and we came out to total destruction.”

The family had roof damage, a limb went through a window, and they had at least 10 trees toppled over and blocking their driveway.

Just minutes down the road, Brooke Blair had just enough time to grab her baby girl and rush to shelter in the hallway before a tree fell on her home off Jasmine Hill Road.

“The tree fell as soon as I put my hands on her in the baby bed. I heard it crashing behind me,” Blair remembers. “It was about five feet. It wasn’t in the same room, but it was literally on the other side of that wall.”

Miraculously, no one was hurt and crews were on the ground as soon as it was safe to start clearing debris and restoring power.

“The warning came out at 3:01 a.m. and by 7 a.m. we had almost all the roads open or passable,” said Elmore County EMA Director Keith Barnett.

Now, families turn their focus to clean up as they try to get their homes back in working order.

“We got insurance companies on the way and just a lot of work ahead of us,” Head said.

“Thankfully all the kids, the cats, the dog, everybody you know, they’re all accounted for, so that’s all that really matters,” Blair added.

The National Weather Service is still assessing damage but has confirmed an EF-2 tornado that killed two in north Montgomery County also affected this area.

EMA officials say they are almost certain one touched down in the Wetumpka area, lifted, and then touched back down in Tallassee. The NWS has also confirmed an EF-1 tornado affected Tallassee.

STORM DAMAGE SLIDESHOW

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