I thank Harold Forehand, who lives north of Walnut Ridge, for the phone call on Saturday morning before last. He was the first to relay to us the extent of the damage that had resulted the prior evening when the storm system moved through. That storm did a lot of damage in eastern Lawrence County in farming areas without high visibility. The winds were strong, peeling off roofs and knocking down walls of sturdy farm buildings. Several people are certain that the winds included circular winds as well as straight-line winds and having seen much of the damage, we would agree.
disasters leave impact
Williams Baptist College was also hit hard by the storm system with downed limbs and large upended root balls of trees. Frank Witowski, a WBC student and TD contributing writer, reported on the harrowing experiences of two Williams students. He said Charlene Smith and friend, Melissa VanScoy, were driving back from Wal-Mart in Walnut Ridge when the storm was in progress. "... When we got close to the WBC campus, it started storming very bad. I could barely see the road in front of us. With God's hand guiding us, we made it to the Williams turnoff... As we made our way down the road, the wind picked up, and we saw things flying all around us. With what little visibility we had, we could see large objects being flung around in the field to the right of the road. ... When we made it to the girls' dorm, we left the car because it was shaking. It was very difficult to see anything, because the wind and the rain were so intense."
The Williams Baptist College maintenance crew was out early last Monday morning attempting to clean up the campus. Some 20 to 25 student volunteers, as well as faculty and staff, helped drag limbs to the curbs.
The past weekend brought the threat of more storms, but fortunately, at least for Lawrence County, we held mostly some periods of heavy rain.
Besides the victims of tornadoes, others suffering from recent natural disasters are those in the Nashville, Tenn., area where the flooding of the Cumberland River has caused some terrible damage. The Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center was shut down Monday due to the rains and flooding. The Grand Ole Opry, next to the Opryland resort, also swelled with floodwaters.
As bad as these disasters are, the manmade ones, namely the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, bother me the most. I agree with one commentator who said that it is almost unimaginable that the safety valves or mechanisms didn't stop the flow of oil.