The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 11, 2013

Homes wrecked, dozen hurt in Mississippi tornado

— HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Residents shaken by a tornado that mangled homes in Mississippi were waking up Monday to a day of removing trees, patching roofs and giving thanks for their survival. More than a dozen in the state were injured.

Daylight also offered emergency management officials the chance to get a better handle on the damage that stretched across several counties. Gov. Phil Bryant planned to visit hard-hit Hattiesburg, where a twister moved along one of the city's main streets and damaged buildings at the governor's alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi. Emergency officials said late Sunday that at least 10 people were injured in surrounding Forrest County and three were hurt to the west in Marion County, but they weren't aware of any deaths.

It was raining at first light Monday and people began trying to salvage what they could in one damaged neighborhood. Some people walked around fallen trees, power lines, smashed cars and other debris to carry belongings away.

Charlotte Walters, 61, and her daughter Heather Walters, 30, were moving buckets and bowls around inside their house trying to catch water pouring through holes in the roof. The women were at home along with Charlotte's husband when a relative called and said a tornado was headed their way.

"It came through like a freight train. I always heard it sounded like a train. It sounded like Katrina," said Charlotte Waters, who lives in a neighborhood also hit by the 2005 hurricane that devastated the Gulf Coast.

Besides holes in the roof of her one-story wood frame house, a falling tree had damaged the side and another one collapsed on her carport, denting and breaking windows in three cars there.

"I'm blessed. At least I don't have one of those in my house," Charlotte said, pointing to a tree that had fallen onto a neighbor's house next door.

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