Survivor tales from southern storms that killed 12 - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Survivor tales from southern storms that killed 12

By HOLBROOK MOHR and JAY REEVES, Associated Press

YAZOO CITY, Miss. – Morgan Hayden and Joe Moton stepped carefully through nails, broken glass and pink tufts of insulation, the remnants of their home leveled by a tornado as severe storms killed at least 10 people in rural Mississippi and two in Alabama.

The couple had planned to marry Monday, but with little left besides the clothes on their backs, they weren't sure what to do.

"It'll work out, though," 27-year-old Hayden said Sunday, a day after the tornado ripped through as she and Moton, 31, huddled in a bathtub. The bathroom was the only room that wasn't destroyed.

They were unhurt, and the stories of other survivors show how much higher the toll could have been as authorities tried to get a better handle on the destruction from violent weather that churned through a half-dozen Southern states over the weekend.

Dale Thrasher, 60, had been alone in Hillcrest Baptist Church when the tornado ripped away wood and metal until all that was left was rubble, Thrasher and the communion table he had climbed under as he prayed for protection.

"The whole building caved in," he said. "But me and that table were still there."

Sunday was sunny and breezy as Thrasher and about three dozen members of the Yazoo City church stood in a circle and sang "Till the Storm Passes By." Thrasher reminded the group that the church has survived tough times before. They rebuilt after their building was destroyed by arson about 10 years ago.

"The Lord brought us through the fire, and brought us back bigger and better," Thrasher said. "The Lord will bring us back bigger and better this time, if we stick together."

Hundreds of homes also were damaged in the tornado, which carved a path of devastation from the Louisiana line to east-central Mississippi, and at least three dozen people were hurt. National Weather Service meteorologist Marc McAlister said the tornado had winds of 160 miles an hour and left a path of destruction at least 50 miles long.

"This tornado was enormous," said Gov. Haley Barbour, who grew up in Yazoo County, a county of about 28,000 people known for blues, catfish and cotton. The twister wreaked "utter obliteration" among the picturesque hills rising from the flat Mississippi Delta, the governor said.

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