HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Survivors are telling of harrowing encounters with the tornado that struck Hattiesburg, Miss., yesterday -- injuring more than 60 people but causing no fatalities.
One man says he ran from his car and lay face-down in the grass next to the wall of a church as the tornado raced toward him. Jeff Revette says 20 seconds later, bricks were strewn across a flattened pickup truck 10 feet away, amid toppled trees and power lines. A woman who had been driving the pickup and had taken cover near him was pinned by some insulation and other debris, but she was OK.
Officials say several factors helped ensure that no lives were lost. For one thing, residents had as much as 30 minutes of warning from sirens and TV broadcasts. Most businesses were closed because it was a Sunday. And the University of Southern Mississippi was emptier than usual because of Mardi Gras.
About 200 homes and mobile homes were damaged or destroyed. Rain fell today as people tried to put tarps over leaky roofs and move belongings to dry ground.
One man was trying to find a way to shut off a broken pipe filling his house with water. A massive pine tree had split the home nearly in two. John Cline was taking shelter in a hallway closet at the time, and says the tree landed about 3 feet to his right.
242-a-14-(Governor Phil Bryant, R-Miss., at news conference)-"have been released"-Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant says no one was killed and the injuries reported were not life threatening. (11 Feb 2013)
<<CUT *242 (02/11/13)>> 00:14 "have been released"
194-c-15-(Johnny Clark, AP correpsondent)-"people were gone"-AP correspondent Johnny Clark reports the storm could have had a more severe impact, if not for the school's Mardi Gras break. (11 Feb 2013)
<<CUT *194 (02/11/13)>> 00:15 "people were gone"
APPHOTO MSCC108: Workers clear debris from Hardy Street in front of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss., Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after a tornado ripped through the area Sunday afternoon. (AP Photo/Chuck Cook) (11 Feb 2013)
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APPHOTO MSHAT302: Volunteers clean up sheet metal that was scattered across the African American Military History Museum's grounds on Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013, as Hattiesburg, Miss. residents and volunteers clean up Sunday's tornado damage. (AP Photo/ Hattiesburg American, Bryant Hawkins) NO SALES (11 Feb 2013)
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