Storm injures Oak Park man

Published 11:50 am Friday, April 15, 2011

A Vicksburg man was being treated at the scene this morning after a giant tree fell on his home in Oak Park subdivision as a line of severe weather pushed through the county, bringing damaging winds and heavy rain. Vicksburg and Warren County remained under a tornado watch until 3 p.m.

Jerry Huie, age unavailable, was in his home at 500 Oakwood Drive, near Blossom Lane, when the tree fell. Vicksburg Fire Department EMS personnel were treating him minutes after the injury was reported at about 10:15.

“The tree is huge,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said. “It would take three people to get their arms around it.”

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The tree was one of many reported down across the county, Pace said.

One fell on a truck on U.S. 61 South, causing a wreck, and another fell through a mobile home on Berryman Road. Others were down on Lakewood Hills, LeTourneau and Redbone roads. Winds were reported to be 70 mph in some parts of the county.

No other injuries were reported.

Damage was reported to mobile homes and other structures across the state early this morning as the severe line of weather pushed in from the west. The same line had already killed two people in Oklahoma and at least five in Arkansas.

Leflore County Emergency Management director T.W. Cooper said at least two mobile homes and a storage shed were damaged or destroyed near Minter City. A significant number of trees were down in the area.

Daniel Lamb, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said the roof was blown off another mobile home in Issaquena County. The weather damaged a shop near the border of Washington and Bolivar counties.

A tornado watch was expected to remain in effect for a large portion of the state into this afternoon.

“It looks like it’s going to be a volatile setup,” said Brian Koeneke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson. “We could have a few tornados and there’s the possibility for a strong tornado.”

In Vicksburg and Warren County, the National Weather Service was forecasting a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms through 7 tonight, and then clearing out.

The Oklahoma deaths were reported in Tushka in the southeastern part of the state late Thursday. Dead were two sisters in their 70s, Salvation Army Capt. Ric Swartz said.

The tornado also injured at least 25 people as it ground through the town of 350 residents, said Gilbert Wilson, Atoka County’s emergency management director.

High winds associated with the same storm system killed seven people across Arkansas early this morning.

In Garland County, a 24-year-old man and his 18-month-old daughter were killed when lightning struck a tree that fell on their mobile home on Pistol Circle. The victims were crushed in their bed. As the sun rose this morning, one side of the mobile home was torn away, and the tree still rested on a mattress.

In Bald Knob, a 6-year-old boy was killed when a huge tree fell and crushed his home at about 2:30 a.m. Police Chief Tim Sanford said the tree was between 6 and 8 feet in diameter and it took more than two hours to get a truck big enough to lift it so they could reach the child.

“It was a very large, old tree,” Sanford said. “This is very, very tragic.”

In eastern Arkansas, strong winds knocked a trailer from its moorings in the little community of Colt, killing a woman inside.

St. Francis County Sheriff Bobby May said a strong downburst of wind apparently got under the double-wide mobile home where Lardelah Anderson, 64, and her husband lived, flipping it onto its roof. Jesse Anderson, 65, was taken to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, Tenn., where he underwent surgery this morning, May said.

In Scott in Pulaski County, a man was killed when a tree fell on his recreational vehicle. Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Carl Minden identified the victim as James Lofts, 56.