Strong overnight storms on New Year’s Day left a path of destruction across south Starkville but no reported injuries as of Saturday morning.
This latest round of severe storms is the second within the last five weeks to leave damage behind. This time, the debris field stretched across an approximately 2-mile trail from Bryan Field Airport near the city’s southwestern tip to the vicinity of Starkville Academy.
On Saturday morning, Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill sorted personal effects from a shattered outbuilding on property related to her personal business.
“We’re very fortunate we didn’t have the same kind of damage we had with The Pines,” she said. In the overnight hours of Nov. 29-30, an EF-2 tornado left multiple homes destroyed in the The Pines Mobile Home Park and damaged several other locations around Starkville and on the Mississippi State University campus.
Spruill said there were no reported injuries as a result of the storms which struck Starkville in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
The worst-known damage to a dwelling with this latest round of severe weather came at The Grove apartments on Lynn Lane.
The roof was torn off Building Five. One car’s rear windshield is broken out and several other vehicles appeared to receive damage. Insulation from Building Five left the grounds around it looking like snow had recently fallen.
Holly Henson, the manager of The Grove, says most if not all the tenants in Building Five will be displaced.
“We’ve got vacant units we’ll set them up in,” she said.
Rosemary and Paul Cuicchi, OSERVS volunteers, responded with the organization’s director, Becky Wilkes to The Grove around 2 a.m. Saturday, she said. There were two families at Building Five, Wilkes said. “They both found lodging with friends. We provided the families with financial assistance,” she said.
Wilkes said another resident contacted OSERVS Saturday afternoon. “We’re going to put her up in a hotel for a few days while power is turned on for a replacement apartment,” she said.
The following is a list of other damaged areas visibly seen by Starkville Daily News staff:
• Bryan Field Airport. A hangar’s doors were bent in and a door overhang of the main building at the airport was left hanging.
• Miley Drive. A couple of trees were snapped, including one at the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District office.
• Industrial Park Drive. The outbuilding on Spruill’s property lay in pieces, plus a transfer-truck-sized trailer lay on its side at an unidentified business.
• Spruill Industrial Park Road. Roof damage to an unidentified business.
• Starkville Sportsplex. Numerous soccer goals flipped around and over, at least one tree down, dugouts on the softball fields ripped off and several bleachers moved around.
• Lynn Lane, aside from The Grove, two other apartment buildings just to the west suffered structural damage.
• Louisville Street and Academy Road. Wind peeled the roof off a car wash at the intersection of these two streets and scattered the sheet metal from the roof several hundred feet down Academy Road, with the last visible piece laying in front of Oby’s restaurant.
On the website of the Jackson office of the National Weather Service Saturday, officials said they were sending out three survey teams across several Mississippi counties – including Oktibbeha. Officials said the storm damage assessments could take several days to complete.
Donations can be made to OSERVS by sending a check to OSERVS; P.O. Box 443; Starkville, MS 39760.
Additional details could not be obtained by press time Saturday.