Twister surprises Cherokee County

by Staff reports

An EF1-EF2 tornado touched down in Cherokee County Saturday evening, wreaking havoc at several properties in the area, including Atoy Baptist Church. According to Cherokee County Sheriff Brent Dickson, the tornado touched down on the west side of U.S. Highway 69 at Russell Cemetery, then traveled across the highway, intensifying in strength and creating the most damage at the FM 343-County Road 1210 intersection. No injuries or deaths were reported, however, although numerous trees blocking roads were cleared by county precinct barns, Rusk Fire Department and TxDOT crews, he said.

County Emergency Management Coordinator Sergio Servin is asking county residents impacted by the tornado to complete an online damage assessment survey at – this information will determine whether assistance can be approved for those impacted.

Atoy Baptist Church was damaged by the tornado that struck the FM 343 area east of Rusk Saturday night. This church was burned in a fire October of 2015 and the new building was dedicated a year later. Pastor Mike Bradford and congregation wish to thank all of the volunteers from Rusk and the Atoy community who showed up with heavy equipment and hard-working hands on Sunday to once again restore this place of faith. And a special thanks to the “wonderful East Texas Energy guys who worked really hard on Monday resetting poles and stringing wires so we will have power for Easter Sunday.”