The National Weather Service (N.W.S.) has confirmed that straight line winds are what sent the City of Gautier reeling after strong storms destroyed homes and downed trees. What came down is now being picked up as residents in Gautier work hard cleaning the mess Mother Nature left behind Monday night. Joseph Reece, a resident of Gautier, says, "Yeah, I was in Cameron Square when it all happened. I was in a house and all of a sudden the winds started hitting the side of the building and I knew it was bad."
Reece was one of dozens of people who witnessed the power of those thunderstorms Monday night, packing 80 mile per hour winds. These winds flattened trailers at the Santa Maria RV Park and leveled homes throughout the town. Reece says it will take hours just to clean up the tree branches knocked down by the wind. Reece also says, "We got here at 9 o'clock this morning and more likely we are going to be here for another six hours." The Santa Maria RV Park wasn't the only place to suffer damage in Gautier. The wall of a condominium complex actually ripped off the building thanks to these strong straight line winds.
John Castellini, a Riverbend Condominiums resident, says, "It completely ripped that whole entire building behind you off and then threw it onto various cars on this side. This is the damage it did to my car and another car beside it had some things land on it and my other neighbor’s red car had part of the roof land on it." Castellini lives at Riverbend Condominiums, just half mile away from the devastated RV park. They too are saddled with the task of the physical cleanup and the emotional toll of this storm. Castellini closes, "Just kind of blindsided, didn't know nothing was coming or anything and it just hit all of a sudden."
In the blink of an eye, their worlds were turned upside down, and the road to recovery has just begun. Apartment administration says the damage was mostly cosmetic and they are thankful no one was severely injured.