(Hattiesburg, MS) People in southern Mississippi are just now starting to survey the damage from a devastating tornado that left dozens of people hurt Sunday.
Nearly a hundred people were injured but amazingly, no one killed when the twister hit Sunday afternoon.
We now know the tornado that touched down in Hattiesburg was an EF-4, one short of the strongest category, with winds of 170 miles per hour.
Some parts of Hattiesburg, Mississippi still look like a war zone.
The campus of the University of Southern Mississippi suffered some damage.
The building where the school’s marching band stored it’s musical instruments was flattened by the storm.
Fortunately, most of the students who live on campus are gone for a Mardi Gras break.
A building that used to be a dormitory for students was damaged.
It’s been vacant for the past year and was scheduled for demolition anyway.
It’s a good thing no students were there Sunday.
A convenience store next to the campus is usually a popular spot with students, but it was closed after being damaged by the tornado.
Tuesday, manager Russell Moore was a throwing out waterlogged merchandise.
The front of the store will have to be replaced, but Moore decided to open his doors to emergency crews as a show of thanks, “Basically we’re just a place for firemen and policemen to come in and take a restroom break and get a cup of coffee. The public, at this point, still isn’t allowed in.”
The worst damage can be seen in neighborhoods south of campus.
As many as two hundred homes were damaged or destroyed by Sunday’s EF-4 tornado.
James and Toshiba Pickens backed up what they could from their demolished home, “Don’t forget tp shut the door. Yea, close the windows. Close the doors on your way out.”
Toshiba says the couple survived the tornado by taking shelter in a closet,
“I don’t even remember falling down. I just remember him covering me and being on top of me and just the wind and all of the insulation falling on top of us.”
Faculty and staff at the University of Southern Mississippi will report Wednesday to start getting the campus ready for students to possibly return Thursday.