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Atmore Storm Recovery: Woman recalls near death experience in home

ATMORE, Ala. - Some weekend winds were so scary, some people in Atmore thought a tornado must have hit.  It wasn't a tornado, but the storm destroyed businesses and caused major damage to homes Sunday morning with winds topping 110 miles per hour,

Channnel Three's Joe Douglass spoke with a woman who says making a cup of coffee, probably saved her life.

Talk about a frightening situation, all this stuff here that's now out in the open used to be covered by a tin shed. Now that tin is up here in this tree. One of the posts for that shed went flying straight through the roof of this house on Old Bratt Road.

The post skewered this bed where the home's owner, Hazel Smith, had been sleeping about five minutes earlier. Luckily, she was in her kitchen making coffee at the time.

"It was just a loud burst I heard once like loud thunder but it was louder than thunder," Smith said. Smith says with all the noise and chaos from the storm, she was more concerned with the damage outside her home and didn't notice the post stuck in her bed until after some family members found it.

"If it had been during the night, I would've been there," Smith said.

Down the road a crew of men lead by Larry Alston was busy loading some tin onto a trailer. It had gone flying off the roof off a barn belonging to Alston's mother. He says she's a bit shaken up but all right.

"We're fortunate it didn't take the whole building out," Alston said.

Elsewhere boards have gone up on houses that saw some serious damage because of the storm. A tree that came crashing into a home on Presley Street has been chopped to pieces. And parts of the building that collapsed on Lindberg Avenue are now covered with tarps and boards. A gas station next door showed us this surveillance video of the winds blasting the pumps outside.

Mayor Jim Staff says this place was built to code. He's grateful no one was inside at the time of the storm and that no one in the area was hurt.