Discussion about whether a tornado actually touched down at Santa Maria RV Park has been debated since Monday night. News 25 caught up with the National Weather Service as they surveyed the area, trying to figure out what exactly caused the damage. Rob Quinn, a storm victim, says, "It slammed us close and I grabbed my wife, threw us on the couch." The Quinns’ world turned upside down Monday night as strong winds ripped through the Santa Maria RV Park in Gautier, tossing homes and leaving a trail of destruction. Quinn and his wife remember it well, and say they can't believe they're alive.
Quinn also says, "The camper just started getting very violent and just flipped it over on its side. If we didn't land on the couch, we probably would not be here talking to you because the inside, it just exploded." Quinn and his wife did not escape injury, however. Quinn says, "Pieces of glass out of my hand, had a big piece that took my knee cap off. She's all banged up, her neck her shoulders, but we're very lucky. We're very fortunate." The National Weather Service believes it was an outflow boundary ahead of the cold front or a disturbance that was tracking from the Gulf towards the northeast. Once these disturbances started to fall apart, it actually generated these strong straight line winds.
Ken Graham, a meteorologist, says, "These storms last night were strong. Some of these were bowing out and even a little down burst and we had some indication of the cold air aloft, like we're feeling today with the cold, you know that drops to the surface, that spreads out and can easily cause a 70 mile hour wind, so it could have been a down burst." It's clear from this extensive damage that Monday night's winds were extremely powerful, packing winds in the 70 to 80 mile per hour range. The National Weather Service says they will continue to sift through the debris before making its final classification.
Graham also says, "If there is anything pointing to the north south, all of a sudden, you can start connecting the dots and see some sort of rotation. So far, everything is to the east and again, we are going to keep trying to see if there is any indication of a tornado." So far, the National Weather Service says there has been no indication of rotation at the RV park. They say the damage was all in one direction, which means it was not a tornado.