Tornado of 1992

By: Renee' LaSalle
By: Renee' LaSalle

Thursday's severe weather gave us all a bit of a scare, but for many in Southeast Lauderdale Schools, it's March 10 that holds special significance. On March 10, 1992 a tornado destroyed Southeast Middle School.

Three Lauderdale County women were killed in the March 10 storm, and at least 57 people were injured. The storm was one mile wide. It hit Lauderdale County with winds between 150 and 200 miles per hour

But you may also remember it's the same 1992 storm that gave us the Timex baby, and a sense of hope.

Southeast Middle School was hit pretty hard by the storm. Only two of the original structures remain, the gray block buildings build by Jefferson Davis Academy, the cafeteria, the auditorium, the gymnasium, and the office buildings all were built after the tornado.

Teachers who were there say the damage was devastating, but they say the fact that the storm happened when no children were there is nothing short of a miracle.

"It was just boards stuck in things like pins stuck in a pin cushion, roofs gone, building gone where kids would have been there were bricks in the hall," said Teacher Gloria Irby.

Principal Kenny Neal says students are safer now than they were in the past. He says technology and experience are working in their favor.

"We're better prepared, we have quicker warning signs. Back in those days I don't think we really knew what was coming," said Neal. "But I think in recent years even with Katrina, people take it more seriously also."

Now the school now has another reason for building, they need more room for their students. Principal Neal says in the near future they're hoping to expand their space by six or seven classrooms.

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