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75 homes damaged after tornado hits Pendleton

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Pendleton tornado

A funnel cloud looms over Pendleton as seen from west of the town.

PENDLETON -- Seventy-five homes were damaged and 4,000 people were without power but it appears there were no serious injuries after a tornado caused extensive damage in Pendleton on Monday evening.

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"The goal is to have the roads open tomorrow so people can get to work," Madison County Emergency Management Agency PIO Todd Harmeson said. "Expect significant improvement overnight but power may not be fully restored."

Residents and first responders reported multiple funnel clouds in the southern part of the county during a tornado warning period from about 8:15 to 8:45 p.m.

Pendleton tornado

A forming funnel cloud looms over Pendleton as seen from west of the town.

Harmeson said the storm hit about 8:20 p.m. and the damage was isolated to the Pendleton and Huntsville area.

During an 11:15 p.m. news conference, Harmeson said officers had completed a door-to-door canvas of the area and were beginning a second search. He said no injuries had been reported.

Harmeson said that all road were closed in Pendleton due to fallen power lines and downed trees and limbs. A perimeter has been established around the town, and only residents are being allowed in.

Pendleton damage

Trees and limbs were down across Pendleton on Monday evening after a reported tornado hit the town.

Residents are being asked to shelter in place and wait for assistance because downed power lines are still active, Harmeson said. Those who need shelter can go to the high school, where the Salvation Army and Red Cross are assisting.

Harmeson said South Madison Community Schools have canceled classes Tuesday.

Damage ranged from downed trees and limbs to trees into homes, Harmeson said. There has been some damaged reported in rural areas, mostly downed power lines and trees.

Pendleton damage

A large tree fell into a home during a reported tornado in Pendleton on Monday evening. 

Representatives of the National Weather Service will be on the scene Tuesday to make the official determination whether the damage was caused by an official tornado.

Officials are still working a gas line break downtown, Harmeson said.

A news release from Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger said deputies had assisted in the door-to-door search and as of 11 p.m., they were "pretty certain" there were no serious injuries.

"There is so much damage that it will take all evening and most of the day tomorrow to assess it," Mellinger said.

Pendleton damage

A large tree lays in the roadway in Pendleton following a reported tornado on Monday. Every road in the town was blocked by fallen trees or limbs, according to Madison County Emergency Management Agency PIO Todd Harmeson.

Anderson Fire Chief Dave Cravens, who lives west of Pendleton, reported seeing a funnel cloud mushrooming over the town.

The EMA Facebook page reported many flooded roads and tree limbs and power lines down from both storms, especially along State Street and Main Street, which was down to one lane.

Cravens said gas mains had burst on the east and west sides of Pendleton. Residents from Pendleton's westside were evacuated to Pendleton Heights High School, which had been set up as a shelter, on Monday evening.

Pendleton damage

Trees and limbs were down across Pendleton on Monday evening after a reported tornado hit the town.

Resident Gail Caudill said she was preparing to go to bed when the emergency signal on her cell phone sounded, followed by the sound of breaking glass.

“There’s so much going on. I can’t get out the back door,” she said.

Myla Pearson, who lives on Main Street, said she headed for the basement when the siren went off on her phone.

”My garage is destroyed. It fell on my neighbor’s house. I saw it above the building across the street,” she said.

Pendleton damage

Damage could be seen up and down State Street in Pendleton on Monday evening. Every road was closed in the town by downed trees and limbs.

Video posted on The Herald Bulletin Facebook page by Allison Dinndorf showed a rotating funnel cloud passing through the town near O'Reilly's.

Metal was strewn all over the place. A large number of trees were down at the Falls Park and the playground was destroyed.

Diane Maydak, who lives across from Falls Park, said it started raining, and she heard a funny sound.

“We heard a loud snap, and we thought it was a tree in the front. You absolutely could not believe the amount of damage here. It happened in just a matter of minutes,” she said.

Pendleton damage

Trees and limbs were down across Pendleton on Monday evening after a reported tornado hit the town.

Anderson Police Department spokesman Major Joel Sanderson said there was no major damage reported there though the city was under a tornado warning.

Harmeson said agencies from five counties had responded to the scene.

"Three hours after the storm, the response has been tremendous," he added.

Resident looking for updates on the recovery process can follow #PendletonINStorm on Twitter.

Below are reports coming in from law enforcement, THB reporters, area residents and other entities: