Mississippi tornado leaves 10 dead amid destruction

Mississippi tornado leaves 10 dead amid destruction

Monday, April 26, 2010


••• Rescuers spread out to find any survivors in the Mississippi countryside hit hard by a tornado that killed 10 people, while residents returned to demolished homes to salvage what they could and bulldoze the rubble.

About 40 National Guard soldiers on Sunday patrolled the devastated Yazoo City, some in Humvees and others in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Dozens of volunteer state troopers and other law enforcement officers also came from far-flung parts of the state to help.

The high winds on Saturday ripped roofs off buildings in Yazoo County, a county of about 28,000 people known for blues, catfish and cotton.

Governor Haley Barbour described ‘utter obliteration’ among the picturesque hills rising from the flat Mississippi Delta.

‘This tornado was enormous,’ he said, adding there are about 100 homes in Yazoo County and another 38 in Choctaw County that are uninhabitable.

State emergency officials are still trying to determine how many people have been left homeless after Saturday’s storm and it’s unlikely the final tally of damage and other figures will be done before Tuesday.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said on Sunday that at least three dozen people were hurt and nearly 200 homes damaged in Attala, Holmes, Monroe and Warren Counties.

Officials were still working to assess the total damage in Choctaw and Yazoo counties.

On Sunday, many people were focused on cleanup, with the buzz of chainsaws and tractors rumbling across the region as people tried to salvage what they could.

Utility workers in cherry-pickers hovered over police officers directing traffic on a two-lane highway busy with relief workers and volunteers arriving to help.

About three dozen members of Hillcrest Baptist Church prayed among warped metal and broken boards, all that remained of their church building. They dug through the rubble to pull out a few chairs and other items.

Dale Thrasher, 60, the only church member in the building when the tornado hit, told the congregation he climbed under the communion table and prayed to God for protection.

‘The whole building caved in,’ he said. ‘But me and that table were still there.’
Meteorologists said it was too soon to tell whether a single long-lasting tornado – or multiple shorter ones – carved the path of destruction from northeastern Louisiana to east-central Mississippi.

Hundreds were still without power on Sunday, and officials said some may be without power until Tuesday or even Wednesday.

The same storm front spawned heavy thunderstorms that raked across the Southeast, snapping trees, damaging rooftops and scattering hail.
Tornadoes also were reported in Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama, and the severe weather continued to track northeastward early on Sunday as gusty winds also downed trees crossing northwest Georgia.

The severe weather began in Louisiana when a tornado destroyed 12 homes and warehouses at Complex Chemical Co., which makes antifreeze and other automotive fluids.

The storm system moved east, with the twister hitting nearby Yazoo County, Mississippi, killing four people.

In adjacent Holmes County, another person was killed.

A little farther northeast, a tornado hit Choctaw County, where another five victims were reported, including children ages three months, nine and 14.



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