McIntosh County ‘Mother’s Day Tornado’ eight years later - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

McIntosh County ‘Mother’s Day Tornado’ eight years later

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

The tornado in Oklahoma comes just one day before a destructive anniversary here at home.

Eight years ago, a tornado swept through our area, but did its worst damage in McIntosh County. The tornado on May 11, 2008 here begs the question, how do first responders respond when they're among the hardest hit by the storm?

They had fire trucks and ambulances thrown around and the 911 center flattened on the ground.

Ray Parker has watched the weather every Mother's Day since then. McIntosh County's Emergency Management director vividly remembers riding by the 911 center that morning and getting a call ten minutes later.

"He said 'Ray, the building's flat'. I said 'I just rode by there'. I came back up here and pulled into a disaster zone,” said Parker.

They'd later find debris blown as far as Sapelo Island - seven miles away. Crews who'd seen their own disaster quickly raced out to check on others and their damage.

"Nobody over there hurt, not the first one. Trees laid everywhere, but not the first occupied home was it. Not the first one,” said Parker.

He says the tornado halted a renovation of the 911 center and forced them to rebuild, and build better.

"This facility is guaranteed for 200 mph winds. It cost us a lot more than the other building would have but we got what will be here,” Parker said.

He said they're better equipped and better trained to handle a disaster like that if it happens again, but he prays they're never have to put that preparation to the test.

That same tornado left damage in Bulloch, Tattnall and Montgomery counties as well.

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