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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Staff Writer
Many Washington County residents woke up last Thursday morning to discover a few limbs had fallen during the previous night when a powerful storm rolled through the area. But there probably weren’t many who suffered as much damage as Jim and Leann Mattingly did.
“My husband got up around 4:20 Thursday morning to get ready to go to work, and while he was getting ready, the electricity went off,” said Leann. “The rain was beating against the house and I heard him open the back door. I went to see why he was going outside and he said ‘You have got to come outside.’ When I walked out onto the back porch, the lightning would light up the whole sky and you could see what was left of our building.”
Powerful winds during the night ripped through a large metal building on the Mattingly’s property. They had the structure built about three years ago mostly as a play area for their children.
“We didn’t know if it was a small tornado or if it was a straight-line wind,” said Leann. “We get a lot of wind on our hill, but usually our patio furniture blows around and that wasn’t really disturbed. It blew over one chair by the pool, other than that, nothing around the house was disturbed.”
The only section of the building still standing is the storage area used to house lawn equipment and pool supplies. The main area was where the Mattingly’s children would practice sports. Now, baseballs and a twisted basketball hoop were among the debris of metal and wood. A large garage door was thrown to the back of the building and the roof was peeled off as if a giant can opener had been taken to it. Behind the building, large sheets of metal were scattered along the hillside, leaving deep ruts in the ground. Large pieces of lumber were thrust into the ground by the force of the wind.
The Mattingly’s insurance agent hasn’t given an estimate to the monetary amount of damage done, but given the severity of the damage, the Mattingly’s are thankful that no one was hurt and that the storm did not occur while the children were playing inside the building.
“It’s just metal and wood, and it can be replaced,” Leann added. “We’re just thankful it wasn’t the house. It could have been a whole lot worse.”