Tornado Survivors Saw Their City and Homes Vanish

At least 25 people were killed in Mississippi Delta
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 25, 2023 5:25 PM CDT
Survivors Describe Horror of Fatal Tornado
People sit in front of a damaged home Saturday in Silver City, Miss.   (AP Photo/Michael Goldberg)

"My city is gone," Eldridge Walker, the mayor of Rolling Fork, said Saturday after a tornado ripped through the Mississippi Delta, killing at least 25 people. Entire blocks were flattened, home were reduced to piles of rubble, and cars were flipping in the storm. Rolling Fork's water tower was toppled, the AP reports. "Families are affected, homes are torn up, families are without a place to live, children are hungry this morning, no clothes," Walker said, per the Guardian. In Alabama, at least one person was killed by what was thought to be a tornado. Survivors described their fear and the destruction:

  • "It just got calm": Christine Chinn, her husband, and son covered themselves with a blanket in the hallway of their home in Silver City, Miss., a town of about 200. The roof's gone now, and cars are overturned in their yard. "It just got calm, and all of sudden everything just—like a big old train or something coming through," she said.
  • Crying and praying: Sheddrick Bell, his partner, and two daughters crouched in a closet of their Rolling Fork home as the tornado barreled through. His daughters wouldn't stop crying, and his partner prayed out loud beside him. "I was just thinking, 'If I can still open my eyes and move around, I'm good,'" Bell said, per the AP.
  • "Just the breeze": Wonder Bolden, standing outside the ruins of her mother's mobile home in Rolling Fork, said there's nothing left. "There's just the breeze that’s running, going through—just nothing."
  • Screams and blood: Storm chasers who drove into Rolling Fork after the tornado hit said they immediately heard trapped people screaming for help and smelled natural gas, per NBC News. "People coming out of every corner with blood all over them, cuts," Zachary Hall said. "People had been thrown around in this tornado."
  • Historic damage: The emergency manager in Humphreys County, where Silver City is located, likened the destruction to that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "It is almost complete devastation," Royce Steed said. "This little old town, I don't know what the population is, it is more or less wiped off the map."
(More tornado stories.)

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