Historic Tornado Recalled

The year was 1906. It was the second day of the month of March when the deadliest tornado in the city's history touched down in downtown.

"It was a path that looks just about like the worst areas in New Orleans," says Ed Shields with the Lauderdale County Department of Archives and History.

That's not an exaggeration! After the storm almost all of the buildings in downtown were destroyed, except we're told the old YMCA building where the WTOK studios are now housed.

"Front Street was just about completely flattened," says Shields.

Killing 23 people and injuring many more, the storm had an 11-mile path of destruction and is estimated to have caused almost $400,000 in property damage in Meridian, which at the time had a population of almost 10,000.

"I'm pretty sure at that time economically it was very painful because I don't think they had insurance to the extent that we have now," says Shields.

Shields estimates that it took at least a decade for the city to recover. Although structures now in place are thought to be more safe and sound, Shields says it's images like those from 1906 which remind us all why it's better to be safe than sorry!

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