Severe weather causes damage to vehicles, homes

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Severe weather swept through the Mid-South Saturday causing damage and bringing with it hail, strong winds and lightning.

One driver's car was hit by a tree.  Not only did the driver survive but he was able to walk away from his car.

Wind also brought down a traffic light and a telephone pole.  

Police said at first the driver was walking around and did not want to be transported to the hospital.

People who lived nearby said the storm came through strong and fast.

"I couldn't open my door at one point," said Rocky Rokker.  "It was blowing so hard."

"I was playing with my children," said Dion Moffett, "looked over the fences, saw the street light down."

While the driver of the smashed vehicle was lucky to be alive, his luck eventually ran out.  Police gave him a ticket for not having a license or insurance.

The driver later asked to be taken to the hospital where friends said he was doing fine.

A fallen tree also caused damage to a Mid-South woman's home.

The huge tree came loose from its roots and tumbled down onto Linda Quarles' home.

Quarles said she was grateful no one inside was hurt.

"I'm just mainly concerned about the people and my animals," Quarles said.  "The house can be rebuilt ... but I don't worry about things like that."

Thunder also woke many Mid-Southerners early Saturday morning, but lightning strikes Saturday afternoon ignited some fires in Memphis.

Firefighters said lightning is likely responsible for setting three houses on fire near Summer and Holmes, but the lightning did not strike the actual houses.

The lightning likely hit the power lines and sent a charge into the Keithley Irrigation Systems office and two nearby homes.

At Keithley Irrigation Systems, the charge set the water heater on fire.

Sherry Keithley, the owner's wife, said fortunately no one was in the office at the time.

"It filled with smoke," Keithley said.  "It's all black inside."

Harry Jacobs, 98, who lives at the house at Faxon and Baltic said the fire started behind their washing machine, which they were not using at the time.

"We were sitting in the kitchen, and all at once my wife said there's a blaze behind the washing machine," Jacobs said.  "I got a bucket of water and put it out."

Jacobs said he had lived at the home for 72 years.

Firefighters said it is fairly common to see fires start in homes after lightning strikes a power line.

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