Miles of debris, more than a million dollars in damage

Tuesday night's storm caused about a million dollars worth of damage in Palestine.  CBS 19's Amanda Roberson checked out the aftermath.

About 75,000 square feet of metal roofing and insulation were blown off at the clothing and shoes Walmart Distribution Center in Palestine. People in the community said they thought a tornado blew through Tuesday, but according to weather reports it was just strong straight-line winds. Either way, Walmart's debris spread miles around.

Metal, insulation, glass, and down power lines - all signs of a strong storm that blew through quick Tuesday night.

"This is horrible. I don't know, that's going to be a deal to clean up," said Cindy McClendon. After hearing about the major damage at Walmart, she wanted to see it for herself. "We could hear the noise and the roaring and all of that going on. My friend who lives across the road over there has pieces of the Walmart warehouse in her yard and it was just wild."

Crockett Road Church of Christ was the hardest hit by Walmart's debris.

"We have glass all over the auditorium where the tornado hit and blew debris through and it took out this door as well as bent the railing on the outside," Minister Dan Manuel explained. He had left the church five minutes before the storm blew through.

"Walmart has a major, major problem there that's going to have to be taken care of," Manuel added.
This particular Walmart Distribution Center was built in the 1970's and has seen tornado-like damage before. A storm blew through in the late 90's tearing off the exact same area of the roof. The was not nearly as extensive and didn't affect the church a couple hundred yards away.

"Since I've been in Palestine we've had five tornadoes that I can remember here in Palestine," Manuel recalled. "Missed the church completely, so we're very fortunate and very thankful no one was hurt."  

Because unlike people, roofs, doors, and buildings can be replaced.

"This is called tornado alley," McClendon said. "We've had several tornadoes come through here and tear up the whole town at one point and we've rebuilt and just keep rebuilding." 

Manuel said the big roofing debris in the church's  parking lot  is not nearly all of what blew off. A good portion of Walmart's roof is still missing. The church plans to be back in full operation by Sunday morning.

Walmart has a team from their Arkansas corporate office in Palestine assessing the damage, but CBS 19 was told a large amount of items inside the building have been thrown out.

Clean up crews said it could take up to a month to clean up all of the debris from Tuesday night's storm. Once again, weather reports show it was straight-line winds and not a tornado that blew through Palestine.


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