Two north Alabama churches damaged by March 2 tornadoes comment (0)
March 8, 2012
Two Alabama Baptist churches were damaged when strong storms, including two tornadoes, moved through the northern section of the state early March 2. Severe damage and at least seven injuries were being reported in Limestone and Madison counties at press time. The northern and central parts of the state remained under a severe weather threat through the rest of the afternoon and evening.
As the initial storm front moved through the state, Mel Johnson, disaster relief strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, put disaster relief teams on alert for possible assignment.
“Our Rapid Response Assessment Team (RRAT) is going to deploy but we are not going to put anyone in there until daylight because there is a severe threat of significant weather ... extending into the evening,” he said at press time. While waiting on the weather to pass through, however, Johnson was communicating with his disaster relief contacts in Madison and Limestone Baptist associations, who were out in the communities making initial assessments.
Flint River Baptist Church, Meridianville, suffered major roof damage from the morning tornadoes that swept through extreme north Alabama, according to Ron Lynch, church ministries director for Madison Baptist Association. He said Flint River Baptist Pastor Steve Bell reported no injuries at the church at press time.
U.S. Highway 231/431 near Meridianville — where Flint River Baptist is located — was reportedly closed following the storms due to the damage, and power lines were down throughout the area. Area subdivisions and businesses suffered damage as well.
Fairview Baptist Church, Athens, had received significant damage to its roof, windows, back carport and shed, acccording to Limestone Baptist Association Director of Missions Robert Fullerton. The area near the church, located at the corner of Nick Davis Road and East Limestone Road, received “a lot of damage with roofs off of homes and houses torn up,” Fullerton said.
But despite the damage, Pastor George Whitten and Fairview Baptist members were “on a spiritual high” and “doing OK” as they worked on putting up tarps on the church’s roof before the next set of storm systems passed through the area, Fullerton said.
Also damaged was Buckhorn High School and Middle School campus in New Market; however, no students were injured. Limestone Correctional Facility in Harvest was also hit.
At press time, 17,000 customers were reporting power outages near Huntsville. The areas hit hardest were Athens, Hazel Green, Harvest, New Market and Meridianville.