Damage assessment underway after tornado-warned storm forces its way through Russellville

RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. - In Russellville, high winds did damage mostly to roof and siding during Monday's set of severe storms.

Officials tell us some homes and businesses in the Highway 43 area, including a Waffle House, Road Gear Trucking Equipment, and Alabama Central Credit Union, were damaged.

Misty Lowery, an employee at the Waffle House, was there when the storm hit.

"All of a sudden, the windows started shaking and the roof was shaking. There were three priests sitting there, and we all got up and went to the back and we just prayed, hoping it would be ok," she stated. "We just didn't think it would hit here."

But Lowery said when it did hit, it happened fast.

"Just like that," she said, snapping her fingers. "It's scary. Very."

A WHNT News 19 crew spotted the Waffle House sign strewn over power lines in Russellville Monday afternoon, just one of the more striking images of damage after a tornado-warned storm passed through the area.

Crews will have to come out and survey the damage to determine a definitive cause.

Meanwhile, business owners and community members are tallying up their losses.

Fire officials say preparedness was key. No one was hurt in the storms in Franklin County.https://twitter.com/KConnerWHNT/status/975885402832764928

"We were blessed tonight in Russellville that everybody was ok. The plants were shutting their doors, the schools were let out early," said Russellville Fire Chief Joe Mansell. "Luckily, with prayers, nobody got hurt."

He said the storm kept them busy.

"We're a small department, so we're having to use every resource that we've got," he explained.

We're told the area's storm shelters were packed full during the severe weather event. The county's EMA director says it's important to remember to prepare for things like this, and he's glad people did.

"It happens in the blink of an eye. It's just so quick, and that's why we try to tell everybody to be prepared. These things come out of nowhere," he said of these kinds of storms.