Mississippi couple credits faith after surviving severe storm

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Miss. — Stories of survival are coming out following this weekend's violent storms that spawned nine tornadoes and left portions of north Mississippi looking like a war zone.

One Marshall County couple said their faith brought them through a horrifying experience.

"It was devastating; the only thing I could I could tell my husband is to just hold on," Ruthie Johnson said. "We just kept holding onto each other up under the couch. We kept praying, and I said, 'Lord just let it cease.' And it finally stopped."

While the violent storm passed quickly Saturday morning, the horror was just beginning for Ruthie Johnson and her husband Sylvester.

"We tried to get out the door, couldn't get the door opened," Sylvester Johnson said. "The window was broke right there in the living room, so I climbed out the living room window."

Sylvester pulled his wife out, falling and badly lacerating his hand and arm near his wrist. It would require nearly 50 stitches.

"It's just, it's numb on this side and the thumb," he said. "I ain't really got no strength in it."

He also said he's bruised and very sore.

The Johnsons' home of 30 years was torn apart.

Marshall County's EMA director said there were another five structures damaged nearby, but Sylvester was the only person injured.

The National Weather Service has not determined whether this damage was caused by a tornado or straight-line winds, but Sylvester is certain of one thing.

"It was like a roller coaster; a ride," he said.

The Johnsons are staying with Ruthie's in-laws for now and are unsure of what the future holds.

They both agreed their faith brought them through one of the darkest times of their lives.

"I just thank God, thank God," Sylvester said. "If it wasn't for God, I wouldn't be here, me and my wife."

WREG was told no shelter was opened because those displaced by the storm are staying with family or friends.

The Marshall County EMA director said the storm came very close to the same path taken by a deadly EF-4 tornado in 2015.


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