By Kevin Edwards
BC Staff Writer
The National Weather Service in Jackson has confirmed four tornadoes touched down during this past weekend in Bolivar and Sunflower Counties.
There were three EF2 tornadoes, classified as having winds between 111 and 135 miles per hour, and one EF1 tornado with winds of 86-110 miles per hour.
One EF2 tornado touched down near Benoit and traveled north and was likely responsible for the damage to dozens of telephone poles on MS Highway 8.
Another EF2 tornado touched down in Drew.
The third EF2 tornado touched down near the Mississippi Correctional Facility in Parchman and traveled northeast to Rome.
The EF1 tornado touched down near Winstonville.
There were no reported fatalities in Bolivar County and the surrounding area though there was damage to homes, business and infrastructure.
However one newborn is thankful for his mother’s fighting spirit as she crawled out of the rubble of her home following one of the EF2 tornados
Hailly Bernard allowed The Bolivar Commercial to print her story and photos from her Facebook page.
She is currently in a Jackson hospital and has suffered a compressed/crushed spine and broken pelvic bone. She has had stitches to injuries on her face and foot.
Grayson Wayne Rone was born Jan. 12 at 10:28 p.m. He was 5 pounds and 14 ounces and was 19 inches and a quarter long.
New father Austin Rone said in a Facebook post, “I am so blessed to have such a healthy baby and girlfriend. From what we have been through these past couple hours have been heck and we are tremendously blessed to have such a handsome and healthy baby boy.”
Bernard said she and Austin were in the living room when she noticed the walls looked like they were moving.
“The next thing we knew all the walls came unattached and I went flying with them, while Austin was still on the floor having furniture slamming into him. I heard him yell Hailly one time than nothing else. All I could think was he’s gone or smashed but I went into survival mode and knew I had to protect my baby.
“So I was shielding my stomach the whole time I was getting slammed around while things were getting thrown at me. It felt like I was in an ocean trying to swim to surface. I was thrown in the fields way behind the house.
“As soon as the wind and everything else released me I tried standing and instantly fell. All I could think was I’m about to have my baby not knowing I broke my pelvis. I started praying for Jesus to let me make it to at least the road.
“I crawled and crawled and made it to a ditch and laid there. I could see nothing not even my hand. I knew Austin’s grandmother was down the road. I got to the rocks and was dragging my body while still holding my lower abdomen. I never stopped praying for Austin and the baby I just knew I had to make it to his mawmaws. I finally crawled up the porch and was knocking. Austin just ran through the back door as I fell in the front,” she wrote.
The two were taken by ambulance to the hospital and then flown by helicopter to Jackson.
“I wasn’t sure if I was gonna do the name Grayson but what better name could I possibly choose because by the GRACE of God I have a healthy baby. Austin and I are a lot better than what we should b,” Bernard wrote.
Bernard will be in the hospital for several weeks undergoing occupational and physical therapy.
Grayson is in the NICU and though he had some issues with blood sugar, he is eating and doing well.
Many residents have been affected by power outages that have lingered for several days as a result of the loss of damage to power stations.
After several days of repairs, power is being returned to residents of Bolivar County.
Power companies have been hard at work resetting poles that were downed from the tornadoes.
“Our goal is to have everybody who can take power on tonight,” said Cheryl Comans of Entergy Wednesday.
Additional rain has fallen but Comans said the time taken to make repairs is primarily due to the scope of the damage.
“Anytime you have weather it slows you down a little more due to safety,” said Comans. “It’s just long, hard work trying to get that number of poles back up and the infrastructure back together. “
A representative from Delta Electric Power Association said the company is still working to get outages repaired and there is no estimated time as to when power will be restored to all customers.
While Highway 8 between Cleveland and Rosedale was littered with downed telephone poles, Rosedale Mayor Carey Estes said the city was fortunate to be spared major damage.
“We didn’t really get hit that bad,” Estes said. “We had one telephone pole messed up. One tree fell on a business. A few tree limbs that fell out. We probably still have 60 customers out (of power) in Rosedale.”
Estes commended the work of the power companies that have had the task of restoring power to the county.
“I think the roads are saturated with these (service truck) buckets and they’re working hard, I’ll tell you what.
“They’ve got a lot of work cut out for them. Coming from other places to assist and it’s a blessing that we didn’t get hit any worse.”
The American Red Cross has a feeding station for those affected by the storm in Drew as well as anyone else affected.
The station is located at the U.S. Army National Guard Armory at 4127 Highway 49 West.
Scheduled opening times are 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
The Postal Service is temporarily suspending operations at the Rome Post Office, located at 800 Rome-Baltzer Rd., after the building suffered significant roof damage.
All retail and P.O. Box operations have been moved to the Drew Post Office, 146 W. Park Ave.
The Drew location is open Monday thru Friday, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m./1:30 p.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-10 a.m.; and Sunday closed.
P.O. Box customers will be required to provide picture identification.