MORGANTOWN — Okey Dalton was standing outside Valero Gas Station on Kingwood Pike Wednesday evening when he saw a storm blowing in.
Some believe that storm was a tornado.
Accuweather said there were no reports of that in Monongalia County, though there were reports in Harrison County.
Dalton said as he stood there shortly after 6 p.m., he noticed clouds so black, he thought it was smoke and wondered if a house was on fire.
He noticed the clouds were moving in a circle.
“I’m 78 years old and that’s the most wind I’ve ever seen at one time,” Dalton said.
He said he ran into the store and watched as the covering over the gas pumps shook from the wind.
“I ain’t seen nothing like it,” he said.
Melissa Snider also ran for cover.
She said she was in her home when she heard a noise. She muted her television and heard a heavy rain. Then she heard her husband, Denver, say, “My God, get to the basement.”
“I looked out this window and I seen the pillar go, and I could see the trees coming,” Melissa said.
She said she didn’t know if it was a tornado, but it was high winds and she heard a rumbling noise. She also saw gray in the sky.
Denver said several people told him the winds started on Mountainview Road, and a funnel cloud stayed in the air for a while. They told him it touched down behind their house, near a pool. It traveled through the woods and onto Summer School Road.
“I mean it rumbled,” Melissa said. “I was too afraid to come out, I thought the roof was gone,” said Melissa.
Denver said the winds took a tree out by the roots.
“We were down there standing just now and you could hear trees down there dropping down in the woods,” said Melissa.
Rocking chairs were blown off their porch, sending them across the yard.
Melissa said she called her insurance company and they told her someone would call her in a couple days, but she expressed concern for her porch, now that it’s missing a pillar.
Denver said they had just paid off their home mortgage this year.
“Everybody’s OK, that’s all that mattered,” Melissa said.
When the winds died down, neighbors came to the Sniders’ aid, moving debris and trees.
Denver said in the 1980s, a tornado came through the same area, and went into Preston County, leaving damage in its path.
Tornados were confirmed in June 2016 and June 2017 in Mon County.
Last year, one went through Cheat Lake, damaging the Crab Shack and leaving boat docks strewn around the lake.
In 2016, what was described as a “weak” tornado touched down in Mon County.