Columbia family survives tree splitting their house in two during storm

Mother and son take cover in closet during severe weather.

Columbia family survives tree splitting their house in two

COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - Debris cleanup continues in Marion County after severe weather swept through the area late on Friday and early Saturday morning.

Sue Simmons describes what she heard when a tree fell through her house. She and her son were both home during the damage.

“It sounded like a bomb going off, it really did it sounded like a bomb went off,” she said.

Sue said she was watching weather coverage as the storm was coming.

“I was watching Nick on WDAM and he said it’s over Columbia and it looks like it’s going to be at Columbia Academy,” she said. “Because I was tracking it on the radar and looked like it was going to stay in the northern part of the county. And so when he said that, and I’m not exaggerating, we went and got in the closet and 10 minutes later this happens.”

She motioned to the large tree behind her, explaining she is still in a little bit of shock. Tommy Simmons was home at the time in his room right before the tree fell.

“I was sleeping and she woke me up at like 1 in the morning and we had just got in the closet,” he said.

Tommy agrees it was a loud sound.

“When the tree fell, my mom thought it was a limb,” he said. “But I heard the water and I said, ‘that ain’t no limb, that’s a tree.’”

When they left the closet, they could barely believe what they saw.

“There was water pouring everywhere, there was a tree in the middle of the hall and all I could think is get out and that’s what we did,” Sue said. “And then, of course, the emotions start coming, but really and truly we’re just thankful that we’re OK.”

According to the WDAM First Alert Weather Team, areas of Marion County experienced winds up to 70 mph that left multiple homes and businesses damaged.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 tornado touched down in Marion County and traveled for 7.77 miles on the ground.

Sue says the damage is a reminder to take weather alerts seriously.

“Don’t ever take a chance,” she said. “Listen to the weather, get a weather radio and be safe with you and your loved ones, that’s all that matters.”

The Simmons are staying with family in the area as they figure out what to do next about their home. Marion County officials spent the day removing major debris and expect to finish this week.

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