A tornado caused damage in Fort Mitchell, Ala. Sunday morning and two women found shelter in a store cooler.
Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said the tornado didn't touch down, but "stayed high and bounced," hitting in different areas.
Taylor said he had not heard of any injuries.
"It could have been a lot worse," Taylor said.
Never miss a local story.
It damaged the Drop Zone Plaza, on Ala. 165 near the intersection with Russell County Road 18. A side wall was ripped off Marco's Pizza, and a section of the roof was lifted off the Drop Zone Mini Mart.
In the convenience store at the time were Maria Borja, the assistant manager of the shopping center, and store employee Pinar Heimann. The two went into the store's cooler to be safe.
"It was raining hard and it was very dark. The siren went off but I usually don't take them seriously. The wind then got real strong and the doors blew open . We went into the cooler and heard a loud boom. I thought the whole building was coming down," Borja said.
"As we got into the cooler stuff began to fly around in the store. It was very loud like a bomb going off," Heimann said.
When they left the cooler, the found a large section of the roof was gone. Rain was pouring into the store.
Nearby, Mark's Cabana, a cafe, had signs torn down.
General manger of the Drop Zone Plaza is Daphne Temples.
"This is a total loss," Temples said of some of the businesses as she surveyed the damage..
An air-conditioning unit from an unknown location rested on the ground nearby .
A large tree near the plaza entrance was uprooted.
Several houses in the Village at Westgate subdivision sustained damage. Most of the damage was on Cherokee Trail and Apache Trail. Taylor said only about four or five houses were seriously damaged but several more had shingles come off the roof. A few had pieces of siding on the ground and window shutters missing.
Fences were down all over. Grills were strewn far and wide. Basketball goals was knocked over. Above ground pools were crushed, A trampoline was tossed from one yard to another. Small pieces of metal could be seen on the ground everywhere.
The Seale Volunteer Fire Department helped the cause bringing a ladder truck.
Bob Franklin, the director of the Russell County Emergency Management Agency, said he believed a reason there were no injuries is because people heeded the tornado warnings.
He said the National Weather Service had noticed the tornado before it hit. "They saw it spinning," he said.
Michele Gallagher lost the roof in one corner of her home. She heard the siren go off but, at first, thought it was just a test.
"The wind really picked up and it got very dark," she said.
She and her husband 1st Sgt. Michael Gallagher got their three children and two dogs and got into the bathtub.
"There was this roaring. We heard a loud boom," she said.
The family did not come out of the bathroom until a deputy from the Russell County Sheriff's Office banged on the door of the house to see if everyone was safe.
George Acquait had damage to his home, primarily his fences.
"It got dark and windy. I heard a boom and saw my fences start to blow over. My security camera quit working. I knew this wasn't going to be good. I ran to the bathroom and waited," he said.
He said he felt blessed to not have had more damage and was glad when he hear nobody had been hurt.
Acquait looked across the street where a neighbor's gazebo had been seriously damaged. "Man, he just built that," he said.
The National Weather Service and American Red Cross came to observe the damage.
After hitting Fort Mitchell, the storm crossed the river into Fort Benning. Gary Jones, public affairs officer for Fort Benning and the Maneuver Center of Excellence, said early afternoon Sunday that some trees were down near Lawson Army Airfield but that no facilities were believed to have been damaged.