WINFIELD, Ala. (WIAT) – In December 2021, an EF-1 tornado came right through downtown Winfield, passing over a storm shelter and damaging several businesses in its path. One business owner remembers the night, saying he was scared for his life.
“I thought it was all over.”
Mike Hynds, owner of Winfield Antique Mall, was working in his store when the tornado spun through.
“Heard a big boom and came running to here and I got to right here and all the glass, all the windows started blowing,” Hynds said. “Those counters in there moved back from the windows about eight foot. I just ducked and run.”
Hynds said he wasn’t prepared for the tornado that night.
“I actually went to the internet, and I was going to look up the radar and during that time,” Hynds said. “That’s when the windows started to blow out. So, I waited way too late as far as going to the basement.”
Winfield Mayor Randy Price said the city currently has two storm shelters that can hold about 200 people total. But with a population of around 4,500, creating enough safe shelter is something he said is a priority.
“Once you get in the path, you need to be aware, you need to be more aware because it has a tendency to follow that same path,” Price said.
Marion County EMA Director Eric Terrell said with the weather moving in late and overnight, it’s important to know what your safety plan is before going to sleep.
“Don’t wait. If we go under a warning, go immediately,” Terrell said. “You’ve just got to judge how far away you live from the shelter how early you need to leave to get there.”
Marion County EMA said parts of the county are still recovering after the last two storms to hit the area.