STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

The power of lightning -- and prayer

The power of lightning –- and prayer. Two forces that converged during the height of last week's storms near the to...

Posted: Apr 18, 2018 3:47 PM
Updated: Apr 18, 2018 3:48 PM

The power of lightning –- and prayer. Two forces that converged during the height of last week's storms near the town of Castor in Bienville Parish.

The lightning strike began at the top of a pine tree in Betty Warren's yard. It's a tree that's weathered many a storm for several decades.

Discoloration marks where the lightning bolt first blew away the bark and with quicker-than-the-eye-can-see speed made an exit from the bottom of the tree where the ground was plowed and singed from the intense heat.

Only 2 seconds lapsed from the lightning strike to the damage it caused.

Warren, clutching the very Bible she had been reading that night, shares what happened: "I get ready for any bad weather and I had my purse and medication bag and my Bible. And I had anointed this place that I would be protected. And thank you, Jesus, that I would be protected," said the 75-year-old Warren.

The strike happened just after midnight as an intense line of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes were racing across the ArkLaTex.

"I heard a loud bomb; it sounded like a bomb and I got up immediately. I went to the back door and all I could see was door open to a well house," Warren said.

The door had been blown off from the blast effect. The ground around the base of the tree plowed to shreds.

Electrical wires that power the water well pump were fried and the face plate blown from the steel box and impaled into the siding of the house. The wires to the junction box whipped more than 30 feet through air and landed in a flower bed.

Under the porch area are burn marks where the electrical wires were burned next to the door.

Wires for the telephone were burned away so with no phone service Warren drove to the home of her daughter and son-in-law who lived about a mile away.

"And I said 'help,'" Warren said. "And after he got me settled down I told him what happened but I had not been outside because the wires might be live, you know."

"I'm terrified of the weather and I depend on you guys to tell me what's about to take place. She came in and she couldn't talk and shaking. First thing that went through my mind was a home invasion possibly," son-in-law Danny Weaver said.

A home invasion, yes, but an invasion of fire and brimstone and lightning.

Weaver went back to Warren's home to find the inside junction and fuse boxes burned.

But more notable, in Warren's bedroom, where she would usually be lying down to sleep, was the ceiling fan. It had fallen onto the bed, but fortunately, Warren had moved to the couch in the living room as the storm approached. She says it's the only safe place in the entire house.

Evidence of the lightning strike even more so evident with broken windows in her bedroom – blown outward into the yard by the blast.

Has some like this every happened before?

"A place where I lived on Highway 153. Lightning struck a transformer across the road. Had young children then and my husband and I go out of the house. We survived but the house did not. It just burned down," Warren said.

The tree will not survive and will be removed. Electricians have already visited the home to begin rewiring so this place Warren calls home will become habitable again.

In the interim, Warren will live with her daughter and son-in-law, who said Thanksgiving will be bigger and more meaningful this year.

What is next for this retired school Castor High School teacher, whose daughter teachers in the very same classroom where her mother instructed students?

"What's next is to keep on living and trusting in the Lord," Warren said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32214

Reported Deaths: 1158
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds259141
DeSoto172418
Madison132635
Jones114049
Neshoba100473
Rankin98213
Harrison96911
Lauderdale92280
Forrest91643
Scott77915
Jackson68917
Copiah62015
Washington61710
Leake58919
Lee56220
Holmes56041
Oktibbeha55227
Wayne54515
Warren53218
Yazoo5236
Lowndes50913
Grenada5067
Leflore50053
Lamar4917
Lincoln48434
Pike45416
Monroe42534
Sunflower4208
Lafayette4094
Covington3755
Attala36523
Panola3646
Bolivar35618
Newton3479
Simpson3453
Adams31518
Tate31011
Pontotoc3046
Marion30012
Chickasaw28719
Claiborne28410
Winston2808
Noxubee2728
Jasper2676
Pearl River26532
Marshall2583
Clay24911
Smith22911
Union21810
Clarke21025
Coahoma2056
Walthall2056
Lawrence1872
Yalobusha1807
Kemper17914
Carroll16811
Humphreys1569
Tallahatchie1454
Calhoun1414
Montgomery1392
Tippah13811
Itawamba1378
Hancock13413
Webster12711
Jefferson Davis1134
Tunica1133
Jefferson1103
Prentiss1103
Greene1059
Amite1043
Wilkinson939
George913
Tishomingo891
Quitman811
Choctaw754
Alcorn742
Perry724
Stone692
Franklin452
Benton420
Sharkey370
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 45263

Reported Deaths: 1007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5486155
Montgomery4246105
Mobile4219136
Tuscaloosa234644
Marshall177011
Madison15548
Lee143337
Shelby135724
Morgan11285
Walker98525
Baldwin9809
Elmore96215
Dallas9109
Franklin90216
Etowah79013
DeKalb7615
Chambers64327
Autauga63612
Butler63228
Tallapoosa60469
Russell5680
Unassigned52226
Limestone5181
Houston5106
Lauderdale5016
Lowndes47821
Cullman4705
Pike4525
Colbert4266
St. Clair4162
Escambia4118
Calhoun3875
Coffee3863
Covington3727
Bullock36810
Barbour3572
Talladega3237
Marengo31711
Hale31521
Dale3020
Jackson3022
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Clarke2836
Winston2663
Chilton2622
Blount2511
Monroe2412
Pickens2386
Marion23613
Conecuh2177
Randolph2169
Macon1999
Choctaw19712
Bibb1961
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1187
Lawrence1090
Cherokee1037
Geneva840
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne391
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 78°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather