LEON COUNTY - Piece by piece, Centerville residents in Leon County are cleaning up the mess. A severe storm rolled into the city Friday late afternoon and left a path of destruction.
"That was probably some of the highest winds that Centerville's had in a long time," said Murray Ulm, a Centerville Firefighter.
He said he's never seen a storm that strong in his life.
"They gave us the weather advisory through the Sheriff's Office, so we were prepared, but it did a lot more damage than we thought it would," Ulm said.
According to the National Weather Service, wind speeds reached up to 65 mph causing city-wide power outages and even made some trees topple over onto houses. The wind was so powerful, some trees were completely uprooted and several metal roofs blew off of buildings.
"Lots of people were scared," Ulm said.
Including Father Nolan Lowry and other residents who were in worship at the St. Leo the Great Catholic Church.
"We've had some bad storms and this is the worst," said Father Lowry.
Instead of focusing on his fear, he turned to his faith.
"I just asked everyone to really pray and just focus on Jesus," he said.
His prayers were answered. A tree that had fallen just narrowly missed hitting the church while they were in worship.
"I think there was a reason we were inside of the church during this storm," Lowry said. "Even though the lights went out and it was a little bit scary, I think that it was a chance for us to commend ourselves to the Lord and pray for safety. I believe God answered our prayers and kept us safe."
Even though the adjacent building suffered damage, Father Lowry and the rest of the town are grateful that no one was hurt and can rest assured knowing that beauty still stands within the destruction.
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