Local EMS director Ronald Bass said Sampson escaped the worst of a weather bullet Tuesday night that could have been far worse than the hail and high winds that had residents holding their breath but did little in the way of damage. But he’s warning that the county isn’t done with possible severe weather and he continued to urge residents to be vigilant, heeding warnings if and when they come.
“We were somewhat fortunate yesterday, Bass said Wednesday. “There was some minor damage, some trees and limbs down and two hog houses that were completely destroyed over on Church Road, and an outbuilding on Juniper Road. But overall, I think we were very, very lucky.”
The same, the EMS director said, might not be true today.
“It might be a different story today. There’s the possibility of severe weather although it’s more concentrated in the central part of the state.”
Bass was part of a conference call with National Weather Service officials around 11 p.m. today. Information from that meeting, he said, indicated that today’s weather, which has already brought a light, misty rain and high winds, would be much like Tuesday’s, with the possibility of severe weather cropping up at any time.
“But we were told it would be more concentrated in the central part of the state, west of I-95 and east of U.S. 1,” Bass said.
Yet, he cautioned Sampsonians not to relax too much. “The possibility of severe weather still exists here,” Bass said, “we are just not in the heart of where they expect the worst weather.”
Sampson was under a tornado warning shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday when a funnel cloud was spotted — and later touched down — in Stedman and predicted to move toward Autryville and Roseboro. That storm only brought rain and strong thunderstorms; however, a few short hours later another warning was issued, with residents spotting a funnel cloud in the Autryville area and moving northeast. In addition, golf-ball size hail was reported in the Autryville and Salemburg areas.
Bass said a sheriff’s deputy followed the funnel cloud for a good while and reportedly saw it go down in a wooded area now believed to be Church Road, where Robert Naylor lost two of his hog houses.
Naylor declined comment on the destruction.
At 1 p.m. today, no tornado of thunderstorm warnings or watches had been issued for Sampson, but the county remains under a flood advisory.
While Bass said there were some areas in the northern end of Sampson where roads had been under water for brief periods of time — an estimated 10 to 15 minutes — the waters had since subsided.
The lack of warnings right now, Bass said, still didn’t mean Sampson was out of the woods. “It’s best to pay attention to weather forecasts and, if a warning comes, heed that warning, find a safe place to be. It can be very serious.”