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Violent storm leaves damage in its wake

CHESAPEAKE — Michael Manns still seems to be in disbelief, but is counting his blessings as a short, violent storm ripped off a 100 by 150-foot piece of the roof at the fabricating plant at Superior Marine in Chesapeake.

The storm hit around 6 p.m. Tuesday and left about a quarter of AEP customers in Lawrence County without power.

“We are out now assessing everything,” Manns, chief financial officer at Superior, said at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. “It was the strangest thing. It pulled the top of our fab shop off like a tin can. That is a corrugated seamless roof that has been on there for some 20 years.”

The heavy rains and winds left trees crumpled by the roadside and power lines drooping or pulled down, according to a 911 dispatcher.

“There are a ton of trees down and power lines,” the dispatcher said.

Manns said a neighbor by the Chesapeake operation on County Road 1 saw a funnel cloud over in Kentucky come across the Ohio River and land near Superior Marine.

“It exploded on this side of the river, ripped the roof and jumped over the road and snapped a three-foot diameter elm tree at one guy’s house,” Manns said. “It looks like a helicopter hit the side of the hill.

“It was definitely a funnel cloud. It was pretty weird. We have had high winds before over 100 miles an hour and have not done any damage. It was just like it clipped a corner, jumped across the road and came down and topped an evergreen tree.”

Right now there is no estimate of the damage at Superior.

“No one was hurt. Nothing that we can’t replace,” Manns said. “That was the blessing behind it all. If it would have hit three hours earlier, we would have had a full house.”