Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 25, 2017

Jackson: Tornado not confirmed in Salem

May 11, 2017
Photo by: Photo courtesy of Pierre Bensch Residents acorss Henry County took shelter Wednesday afternoon as sirens warned of a possible tornado. Salem took the brunt of the storm as a funnel cloud appeared overhead. County officials have not deemed the storm a tornado, as there are no reports of the funnel cloud touching down.

By Mt. Pleasant News Staff

 

Henry County Emergency Management Director Walt Jackson has seen the photos and heard the reports, but he is not confirming that a tornado struck the Salem area Wednesday afternoon during severe storms which passed through the county.

“I’ve seen pictures of the (funnel) cloud and heard that it was seen above Salem between 3-3:30 p.m., but I have not received any reports that it touched the ground,” Jackson said this morning. “To be ruled a tornado, you have to have a funnel cloud and it has to touch the ground.”

Jackson said he has not talked with National Weather Service officials yet but plans to sometime today and will get their thoughts on whether a tornado struck the county.

In addition to the sighting of the funnel, the rest of the county was met with strong winds and hail. “New London had dime sized hail and there was hail in other parts of the county,” Jackson said. Although the hail was accompanied by strong winds, Jackson has not learned of any extensive damage.

Mt. Pleasant News reporter Bryce Kelly reported seeing pin-ball sized hail in the Salem area.

At approximately 2:30 p.m., a tornado warning — extending until 3:30 p.m. — was issued for Mt. Pleasant. Soon after, the city’s tornado sirens went off, warning residents to seek shelter immediately.

Students in the Mt. Pleasant Community School District were kept late Wednesday afternoon due to the weather.

“We didn’t want to put kids on buses and start bus routes with the potential danger of tornado and high winds,” said Superintendent John Henriksen.

Students were sent to the designated tornado shelters following the tornado warning alert around 2:30 p.m., where they stayed until dismissal at 4:10 p.m.

Parents were allowed to come to the school and pick up their children.

“We appreciate everybody’s patience. We will always err on the side of safety and be cautious,” Henriksen said, adding his gratitude to the parents, faculty and staff for their help and understanding.

Later, the National Weather Service extended the tornado warning until 4:15 p.m.

 

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