When Karen Stewart peered out the front window of her home on Harding Drive off Hilton Avenue in Columbus last night she witnessed something the likes of which she'd never seen before -- a tornado.
"It was gray and all you could see was wind and debris and gray and all the trash and I just screamed, 'Get in the bathroom. Get in the bathroom,'" Stewart said. "It seemed like a train was coming at you. And then we were in the bathroom and then it was over. It was like a minute."
Though Carroll Collins didn't see a tornado uproot an ancient tree and drop it on the roof of a home he owns and rents out on Richard Street off 18th Avenue in Columbus, he said he can't imagine any other act of nature would cause that much damage.
"I can't see straight winds pulling a tree up like that," Collins said.
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His daughter, Candy Collins, lives next door to the Richard Street residence that now has a tree in its living room. She said she heard the city-wide emergency sirens about 11 p.m. and headed for the basement. On her way to find cover she looked out a bathroom window and saw a tree levitating above the rooftop of 1615 Richard Street. In a trance, Candy Collins stood at the window and watched as the tree floated up, then down, then up again before falling over onto the house.
No one was injured in either 1615 Richard Street or Stewart's home on Harding Drive.
The Nursery of Lee Bayard, 1210 13th Street, was also hit hard by last night's storm. Manager Jim Nicola said somehow the business's truck was picked up and moved about 30 feet from its parking space into the middle of the nursery. There it sat upright and apparently intact this morning, atop an assortment of cracked, stone yard ornaments such as angels and bulldogs. The nursery's sign was discovered about a half of a mile away near Lakebottom Park.
The Ledger-Enquirer has dispatched reporters around Columbus and Phenix City to gauge damage from last night's storm.
For more stories, pictures and video from the storm, please read tomorrow's Ledger-Enquirer or visit us at www.Ledger-Enquirer.com.