Weather

Heavy rains and strong winds cause damage to parts of Harrison, Jackson counties

The shopping center directly outside of CJ's Local Cuisine at the corner of Lemoyne Boulevard and McCann Road in St. Martin received some substantial damage after a tornado touched down in the area Saturday night.
The shopping center directly outside of CJ's Local Cuisine at the corner of Lemoyne Boulevard and McCann Road in St. Martin received some substantial damage after a tornado touched down in the area Saturday night. Courtesy of Jessica Lambert

While many people in Biloxi were worried about traffic along U.S. 90 from numerous incoming visitors, other South Mississippi residents kept their eyes on the weather Saturday.

Officials confirmed a tornado touched down in St. Martin on Saturday evening around 6:45 p.m. on Lemoyne Boulevard at McCann Road, causing damage to CJ's Local Cuisine.

"I've been here since 1953," said Cliff Lancon, owner of CJ's. "I've been through eight hurricanes, but this was my first tornado.

"If there's worse one's than this, I don't want any part of it."

This is Lancon's fourth restaurant. He said CJ's has been in that location for roughly a year and a half.

Lancon said he was out in the dining area of his restaurant when the tornado hit.

"The southeast windows blew out and shattered into a bunch of tiny shards," he said. "I took a bunch of them to my back and my arms. I guess because I was standing up and everyone else was sitting down, I was the only one that got hurt."

Lancon also described further damage, including the roof lifting off the restaurant and cars being thrown about.

"There was a truck that fell on my truck and crushed it," he said.

A nearby shopping center, a climate-controlled storage facility and mobile park home also sustained damage. Crews closed the road to repair power lines that came down during the severe weather, but no major injures were reported Saturday night.

"We're pretty lucky," Lancon said. "My family and customers were my main concern, and they were all OK."

Lancon said he does plan to rebuild the restaurant, but is not yet sure of the timeline.

"It all depends on the insurance when we can begin reconstruction," he said. "About 98 percent of our customers are locals, and I'm sure some of them are going to try to come today trying to eat."

Much of South Mississippi was under a tornado watch for much of Saturday. Areas of Pearl River and Harrison counties were also put under tornado warnings, but no damage was reported.

The National Weather Service also issued flash flood warnings for much of the Gulf Coast, reminding residents to "Turn Around, Don't Drown."

Early Sunday afternoon, Harrison County emergency Management Deputy Director Matt Stratton reported that all rivers in Harrison County were at or near the forecasted crest, with levels expected to remain high through Monday. The Biloxi River crested at 16.9 feet earlier Sunday morning.

George and Jackson County emergency officials responded to reports of dozens of RV campers and visitors stranded at Red Creek Off-Road facility off Vestry road. Heavy overnight rains made roads and trails into the facility impassable to regular vehicles. The severe weather also caused flooding along the banks of Red Creek, pushing water into the RV camp grounds.

Temperatures cooled Sunday, with a high of 64 and low of 41.

Monday is forecast to have a high of 70 and low of 49 with warmer weather continuing through the week.

Related stories from Biloxi Sun Herald

  Comments