Tornadoes Ruled Out as Cause of Damage in Mississippi

October 7, 2014

The National Weather Service has determined that Thursday storm damage in Pearl River and Tate counties was caused by straight-line winds and not tornadoes.

West of Senatobia in Tate County, Strayhorn Elementary School suffered roof damage. High winds also brought down trees and power line in other parts of Tate County. No injuries were reported.

Southeast of Lumberton in Pearl River County, a man suffered minor injuries when a mobile home was blown onto its side by winds that Weather Service personnel estimated at 75 mph to 85 mph.

Robert “R.J.” Mason told the Picayune Item that he was sitting in his recliner watching a movie when the mobile home overturned.

‘I heard the sound of a freight train,” the 81-year-old Mason said. “I thought to myself `Holy smokes it’s a tornado.”‘ Mason said he heard a crack, a bang and a boom and then everything in the mobile home went topsy-turvy.

“The overstuffed recliner saved my life,” Mason said. “The chair turned over so I stayed underneath. The whole event lasted about five seconds.”

After the incident, Mason began clenching his fists, flexing his back and wiggling his toes to ensure that nothing was broken. Although his legs were pinned underneath the chair, he suffered only a few cuts and bruises. Mason began to push debris around in efforts to free himself and get out of the trailer. A portion of the mobile home was in a tree and he grabbed at tree branches to pull his way to safety.

He went to friend’s trailer nearby and called 911.

“I was amazed I came out of the home unhurt,” Mason said.

Mason’s trailer was located near his workplace at Slade’s Fish Hatchery.

“He has worked for me for about 20 years,” Hope Slade said. “He is a part of our family and we take care of him. I told him he’s got nine lives.”

Slade cited a previous incident where Mason was driving a truck carrying worms when the vehicle tipped over. Mason landed on the worms.

“He always finds a soft spot to land,” Slade said. “He’s a survivor.”

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