04/14/08 — Short, but mighty

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Short, but mighty

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on April 14, 2008 1:46 PM

PRINCETON -- Richard Clark first thought he heard lightning when a tornado ripped the roof off his house Saturday afternoon.

"Maybe about 10 minutes to 3 p.m. I heard a loud 'bang,'" Clark said outside his home Sunday evening.

Then his wife came in from the kitchen to tell him a storm that was swirling across northern Wayne County, and had earlier prompted a tornado watch, was tearing the roof off their home.

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It was only later that he learned it actually was a funnel cloud.

The National Weather Service confirmed Sunday that a weak tornado with winds estimated at 75 mph touched down in Wayne County on Saturday.

Officials said a brief EF-0 tornado touched down two miles northeast of Raynor Town in Wayne County near the Oakland community. The storm initially blew in a garage door on a brick house and ripped the roof off the Clarks' mobile home. The weather service said the tornado then lifted and touched down again in a field. A mobile home that was not tied down rolled approximately 20 yards into another mobile home, and a fourth mobile home was partially blown off of its foundation.

The state described the path of the storm as very narrow, and that it extended for several hundred yards.

Clark, a Budweiser management employee, his wife, Denise, and his youngest son escaped injury by hiding in a closet.

The family has home insurance, so Clark says getting the house repaired should be "no problem."

The Red Cross assisted the family and the Clarks stayed with friends, they said.

The Clarks were not the only ones to suffer damage during Saturday's storm.

Neighbor and farmer Kevin King said his stable disintegrated into tattered metal that he had to gather over a distance spanning about the length of 10 football fields.

King said he didn't see the tornado's funnel cloud itself, but heard and saw the storm doing some of its damage.

"What I did see was the rain was twirling," King said. "I said to myself, 'That's a tornado.'"

King said members of his family went into a basement to protect themselves.

That was just before a singlewide trailer blew across Princeton Road and slammed into the home of an across-the-street neighbor, King said.

"When we (saw) that singlewide roll over ... once it was gone, that's when a big 'kaboom' happened. We definitely knew it was something serious," King said.

Clark said despite the scary moment, his family was recovering well.

The Oakland area resident said the worst part of the storm was the anticipation.

"The house was shaking a little bit, as the roof was coming off. We could feel it coming off the top of the house," Clark said.