MAUD-MYNOT — As a tornado snapped and leveled trees from all directions around their home Tuesday, Jeff and Kathy Gann huddled in the basement.
Moments later, they emerged unscathed and found virtually no damage to their home.
Their yard and most everything within sight, however, was filled with fallen trees.
"God put his protective hand on top of the house and it worked like a shield," Kathy Gann said.
Nobody was injured and very little property damage was incurred from the late afternoon storm system, which struck mainly in the extremely rural areas of Maud and Mynot, Colbert County Emergency Management Agency Director Michael David Smith said.
The National Weather Service on Wednesday declared the tornado an EF-1.
Laurel McCoy, meteorologist for the weather service's Huntsville office, said the ruling was made based on photographs and information from the Colbert EMA.
McCoy said they did not travel to the location to conduct a survey.
"Because of COVID-19, we're being a little more cautious, and since they did a really good job taking pictures out there, unless we hear anything different, that's the determination," McCoy said.
The tornado struck shortly after 5:30 p.m., traveling along an eastern track after causing damage in Tishomingo, Mississippi, officials said.
The Ganns' son, Keith Gann, said they told him it struck quickly.
"They said it was 'hi' and 'bye' in about 60 seconds," Keith Gann said.
As he helped clear debris Wednesday, Keith Gann commented on the scene, which included trees that landed in various directions.
"It's weird," he said. "You can't tell which way it was going. Some of it is this way, some of it that way. The main thing is everybody was fine. There were no injuries or anything like that."
Nearby, workers cleared trees from roads and fields on and near the Natchez Trace Parkway. Several miles east, Arthur Winchester evaluated his house, which he said seemed to avoid damage, with the possible exception of some front-porch posts.
However, his equipment shed was destroyed and a workshop damaged, Winchester said.
He said everyone took cover, having kept close tabs on the path of the storm by watching local weather coverage.
"They gave us a timeline on TV and we were in the basement," Winchester said.
He said the tornado seemed to leave almost as quickly as it arrived.
"Just a couple of big pops and it was over real quick," Winchester said.
McCoy said there is a possibility for another round of thunderstorms Saturday, and while it does not appear to include severe storms it is important to keep updated, especially this time of year.
The heavy amount of rainfall thus far this year has the Tennessee River rising again, prompting the weather service to issue a flood warning for the river at Florence that lasts into Wednesday.
The river already is well above the 18-foot flood stage, reaching 21.17 feet Wednesday afternoon, according to the weather service. It is expected to peak at 22.71 inches Friday.
A total of 2.29 inches of rain fell Tuesday in the Shoals, bringing the month's total to 7.33 inches, according to weather service data. The normal rainfall amount for the entire month is 4.76 inches.
Thus far this year, the Shoals has had 27.67 inches of rainfall, according to the data. That is 14.72 inches above normal. In fact, it is more than half of the normal rainfall amount of 53.2 inches for the entire year.