Soggy clean-up after tornado injures 63 in Mississippi

TUPELO, Mississippi Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:31pm EST

1 of 3. The Ogletree House building shows heavy damage from Sunday's tornado on the University of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, February 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kelly Dunn/University of Southern Mississippi

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TUPELO, Mississippi (Reuters) - Authorities were cleaning up and assessing the damage on Monday after a number of tornadoes and severe weather tore through nine Mississippi counties, injuring dozens of people as homes and other buildings were torn apart.

Governor Phil Bryant said at least 63 people were injured and about 200 homes damaged or destroyed by the twisters, which cut a 75-mile path of destruction across the south-central portion of the state.

There were no reported deaths, but two people were critically injured when a tornado, believed to be at least a mile wide touched down in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, shortly before sunset on Sunday.

Preliminary data from the National Weather Service said the Hattiesburg tornado was an EF-3, packing destructive winds of up to 145 miles per hour.

Severely damaged buildings included the modern, multi-story Westminster Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, which flattened a pickup truck when debris flew off the building, and parts of the University of Southern Mississippi, Emergency Management spokesman Greg Flynn said.

He said most students at the university were off campus for the Mardi Gras holiday when the twister damaged several buildings there, including a performing arts center and an alumni house.

Bryant declared a state of emergency in counties hit by the severe weather and power outages continued across a widespread area as a steady rain fell on Monday.

"The bad thing is, it keeps raining," said Flynn. "It's supposed to rain all day today and then all day tomorrow.

"We've already had flash-flooding issues and the creeks and the streams are all overtopped. It's just going to make things a lot more difficult in the recovery process."

(Writing by Tom Brown; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Andre Grenon)

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Comments (5)
liodle wrote:
Hey, isn’t this one of the states whose congressmen voted against aid to Hurricane Sandy victims??

Feb 10, 2013 9:03pm EST  --  Report as abuse
tygirl13 wrote:
More importantly this is the state that was hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina – New Orleans didn’t have anything on us. Instead of houses just being flooded, they were completely blown away. In many cases, only slabs were left. However, we don’t need the government to bail us out every time a disaster comes our way.

There were other issues attached to that bill than just Hurricane Sandy victims. Nobody understands disaster more than those of us on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We also understand that no one can help us better than we can help ourselves. I support congressman Palazzo because he wasn’t willing to compromise the integrity of our country’s debt crisis. Don’t get me wrong, federal aid is nice – but not at the expense of our nations well being. You should really have a problem with the politicians who decided to take advantage of people needing aid and using their misfortune to push their agendas through.

Feb 11, 2013 12:09am EST  --  Report as abuse
GhandiMom wrote:
I’m sure the families of the over 1,500 who died in Louisiana would trade their intact houses, which are few, for the lives of their dead loved ones. You can put a price on houses, but not on human beings. This is not a contest, but if it was, which would have the most impact, dead bodies, or destroyed houses?

Feb 11, 2013 1:18am EST  --  Report as abuse
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