Tornadoes Hit the South

A series of tornadoes tear through southern states

Apr 26, 2010 | By Brenda Iasevoli

 

Several tornadoes ripped through the South on April 24, killing 12 people. One of the hardest hit states was Mississippi where a twister packing winds of 160 miles per hour left a path of destruction 50 miles long, according to the National Weather Service.

"This tornado was enormous," said Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. He described the scene as "utter obliteration."

A Violent Path

The tornado started in Louisiana, traveled through western Mississippi and moved northeast before weakening in Alabama. The twister tore down trees, homes and businesses.

Mitchell Saxton, the owner of Ribeye's Steak House in Yazoo City, Mississippi, said everyone in the restaurant took shelter in a walk-in freezer.

"The roof was caving in, TVs flying off the shelves and it was horrible," Saxton said. "We got in the walk-in freezer, sat in there for about ten minutes. When I came out it was really bad." The restaurant was destroyed but no one was hurt.

Tornadoes also were reported in Arkansas and Tennessee. A twister damaged about 20 homes in western Tennessee on Saturday, but resulted in no injuries. The same storm front sliced across Georgia, South Carolina and Florida on Sunday, causing some destruction, but no deaths.

After the Storm

Thousands across Mississippi were left without electricity. Downed power lines and trees blocked roads. Rescuers searched the hard-hit areas to find anyone who might be trapped. Survivors returned to destroyed homes to save what they could.

Malcolm Gordon, 63, of Yazoo City, Mississippi, lost his home, but is happy to be alive. "I'll just bulldoze what's left and start over," Gordon said.