Severe Weather Rips South

By: Stan Torgerson and Wes Wyatt
By: Stan Torgerson and Wes Wyatt

Storms ripped across six states, killing at least 35 people and causing widespread property damage.

One death was reported from Crawford, Miss., but the hardest-hit part of the state was Columbus and the Mississippi University for Women.

While the gymnasium was hardest hit there was substantial damage elsewhere on campus. The fine arts building's roof was partially blown off.

Windows were shattered in another nearby building and the blinds were shredded by the wind. Trees were down everywhere and volunteers along with 150 men from Columbus Air Force base were using power saws to cut them into pieces so they could be hauled away.

Dr. Claudia Limbert, MUW president walked the campus surveying the damage. Cleanup has already begun. But it won't be easy and it won't be finished soon.

The storms damaged other areas of Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Several tornado-producing thunderstorms tracked across the northern half of the area last night.

These cells continued on a northeast track into Alabama, where they produced more serious damage.

Sunday was a very unseasonably hot day for us, with highs in the middle 80s. The warm, moist air created a very favorable environment for severe weather.

The first of it happened over Tennessee, where at least 16 people were killed. Seven of the fatalities were in the town of Mossy Grove where another 45 people have still not been located.

The storm cells produced heavy damage in Alabama. The hardest hit area was Carbon Hill in northwest Walker County. As many as three tornadoes moved through the town.

In addition to 10 fatalities, 50 people were reported injured.

A Lauderdale County resident has some serious concerns about radar coverage and severe weather warnings for east Mississippi.

Houston Garrett, who lives on Minnow Bucket Road, said no severe weather warnings were issued for Lauderdale County, but the same storm brought a warning from Birmingham radar, as soon as the storms entered Sumter County to the east.

Garrett said he believes the Weather Service in Jackson should have issued similar warnings for Mississippi.

NewsCenter 11 recently reported that NWS radar would be moved to a more strategic location by February. The reason for the move is to allow radar to read east Mississippi weather signals more accurately.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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