Preston Island Tornado

This tornado hit Preston Island is shown crossing the Tennessee River afterwards, where it hit South Sauty. Someone on Gunter Mountain made the photo and Jim Lucas provided it. 

Two tornadoes left a horrific path of destruction in 2009 and 2011 on Preston Island on Highway 79-N between Scottsboro and Guntersville.

It was a day storm survivor Jim Lucas will never forget. Neither will the other families in the community. Jim’s recollection of the events was totally frightening. Houses, boathouses, vehicles, trees and personal property were all damaged in the path of the tornadoes.

Jim said, “Electrical power was out for 1 to 3 weeks depending on what part of the area you lived in.”

Jim’s losses included two vehicles, a boathouse, carport, and severe damage to his home. Jim said, “Nothing like this has ever even came close to Preston Island in the 60 years since he I had been in this area. The two tornadoes basically took almost the identical footpath.”

It was early in the morning, Jim was watching television and heard the warning, “If you live in the Preston Island area, take cover immediately.”

At that time, he went to the door and opened it and it was very calm at that moment. Within a minute all the chaos broke loose. He said, “It actually sounded like a freight train, just like how other people describe a tornado sound.”

He remembered seeing wrought iron patio furniture blowing past his window like it was plastic, sounds of glass breaking, and sounds of trees toppling down on structures.

 “It was a very scary situation," he said. "I was very fortunate I wasn’t hurt along with others on the island that day.”

He considers himself very blessed.

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