Brantley sustains EF-1 tornado impact Thursday

Published 11:27 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

Crenshaw County residents sustained damage, downed trees, road closures, and power outages from an EF-1 tornado touching down Thursday afternoon, after EF-2 or EF-3 tornadoes left seven people dead and significant damage behind in Autauga, Dallas, Coffee, Elmore, Coosa and Tallapoosa counties.

According to the Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Office, Bullock, Brantley, and Elba Volunteer Fire Departments worked to clear debris Thursday afternoon and evening. 

At 3 p.m., reports of downed power lines caused temporary road closures on Morgan Mill Road, Settlement Road, Old Three Notch Road, and others near the Crenshaw and Coffee County line in the Weed community.

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“We had 14 locations with trees and power lines blocking roadways,” said Crenshaw County Emergency Management Director Elliott Jones. “There are 14 different roadway blockages between trees and power lines serving multiple locations. We had five structures with damage. We had no injuries, no fatalities, and no weather-related vehicle accidents. The National Weather Service’s preliminary assessment confirmed an EF-1 tornado touched down off of Morgan Mill Road.”

Leisa Hare, a member of Sassers Mill Assembly of God Church, said trees fell on the church, which is uninsured and still reeling from the theft of its heating and air conditioning unit in December.

“Trees fell on the roof at the back of the church,” Hare said. “The eaves broke and are hanging down. We welcome people who can help us get it repaired.”

Residents experienced downed trees and power lines, widespread power outages, and structural damage to homes and chicken houses after the storm.

“We had quite a bit of damage, mostly in Dallas County,” said Pioneer Electric Cooperative Communications Director Christi Scruggs.

Approximately 600 South Alabama Electric Cooperative members reported outages after the storm. All those living in Crenshaw County were restored by Friday.

“We are down to around 135 members out [in all service areas] and some of them have structural damage to their homes and aren’t capable of receiving power,” Scruggs said. “Crews worked all night and are still working.”

Around 6:30 p.m, 1,736 Pioneer members were without power, with 96 of those in Crenshaw County. By mid-Friday, 135 members remained without power but all residing in Crenshaw County had been restored.

Covington Electric worked through the evening to restore power for all 413 members impacted in Crenshaw County.