Volunteers were in the sanctuary of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Rogersville on Wednesday with wet-dry vacuums to clean a mess left from early morning storms.
“We have a lot of water in the sanctuary, and we can’t use it for a while,” minister Pat Driskell said.
The Rogersville church on U.S. 72, and the roof of the former Big Bear Audio building on Second Street in Sheffield, were the only reports of major damage in the area.
Strong wind gusts were blamed on downed trees and structure damage throughout the Shoals.
Area emergency management directors said the storms that passed through the area between 3-4 a.m. were almost non-eventful.
Colbert and Lauderdale counties were under a tornado warning from 3-3:30 a.m., but there were no reported sightings of tornadoes.
“We had reports of trees down scattered in a few areas, but the only major damage we had reported was in Rogersville,” Lauderdale EMA Director George Grabryan said.
“I’d say overall, we were all pretty lucky,” Colbert County EMA Director Mike Melton said.
“It could have been a whole lot worse.”
He said there were some reports of tree limbs on a few residences in the county, but no major damage other than on Second Street in Sheffield.
Driskell said the storm knocked off the church steeple, which allowed the rain to soak through the roof to the sanctuary.
Church members said a new roof was installed two years ago.
“I just hope there is not a lot of roof damage this time,” Driskell said.
“We don’t know about the inside of the sanctuary yet. I’m sure there is some structure damage we’ll have to repair.”
The damage did not stop Wednesday night’s service.
Winds overturned a gazebo at the Wedding Chapel next door to the church and trees around the church were uprooted.
“I heard (the storm), it was just roaring. I just didn’t realize it had gotten this bad,” Rogersville Mayor Richard Herston said as he looked at the damage.
Wade Baker, one of the owners of the vacant building on Second Street in Sheffield, said the wind just rolled the roof off.
“The entire roof will have to be replaced, and I know there is a lot of water damage,” said Baker, who is also one of the owners of Champy’s Fired Chicken across the street from the damaged building. “We’ll just have to get in and make sure the structure is sound and it was not damaged by the winds.”
Baker said the building, which once housed Big Bear Audio and McMackins Business Machines, was in the process of being renovated.
“This is not going to hold us back. We’re still going on with plans to remodel the building and develop it,” he said.
Several power outages left thousands throughout the state without electricity. Only brief scatter power outages were reported in the Shoals.
According to Alabama Power Co., approximately 7,000 homes and businesses were in the dark early Wednesday, mostly in the western part of the state.
Officials said numerous trees were down near Fayette and in heavily wooded Winston County, but no injuries were reported.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.