April 26, 2010
Residents in Mississippi, Alabama and Lousiana began picking up the pieces Sunday morning, just hours after a giant tornado roared across the states. At least 11 people were killed, 10 of them in Mississippi. The death toll includes two children and a three-month-old baby.
The tornado left a path several miles wide at some points, and traveled more than 150 miles before weakening, CNN reported. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says more than 100 homes are uninhabitable following the destruction, according to The Associated Press. A thorough analysis of the damage will not be available until tomorrow.
On Sunday, the director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said called for volunteers to help clean up the dozen counties affected, according to the Mississippi blog gulflive.com.
Red Cross officials are already assessing the damage in Yazoo City, one of the worst-hit areas. Paige Roberts, executive director of the Southeast Mississippi Chapter of the Red Cross, said the damage is extensive. The National Weather Service estimated that tornado winds reached 170 mph at times.
"It's bad here," Roberts said when contacted by cell phone on Sunday. "This is what tornadoes do. It ripped thorough cities and towns, leaving behind snapped trees. Trees cause the majority of the damage."
On Sunday, Dale Thrasher told Fox News that he was thankful to be alive after the storm, when he was caught alone in Hillcrest Baptist Church in Yazoo City. Trasher, 60, sought shelter under the church's communion table while the rest of the building crumbled.
Thrasher and three dozen members of the church met on Sunday and sang "Till the Storm Passes By," Fox reported. This is the second time the church has been destroyed in 10 years, previously by arson.
"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."