CALHOUN CITY, Miss. (WCBI) – For the second time in three months, people in Calhoun City woke up to severe tornado damage.
The storm at the end of March damaged their school, but the one Sunday was much worse.
“We were hunkered down in the bathtub and then we heard it get real loud,” said 13-year-old Grant Crofford. “Mama thought it was rain and daddy said ‘It ain’t no wind or rain out there.'”
Crofford says his family was at home watching TV Sunday night when it hit.
“All of a sudden, we heard the tornado alarms going off,” he said.
It was just before 9 PM when the EF-1 tornado touched down in Calhoun City.
Area pastor Chad Logan says he and his family were huddled under the stairs during the storm.
A few moments later, it was over.
“There was complete darkness,” he recalls. “All the electricity was out and it was very peacefully quiet. Almost eerie.”
Calhoun County EMA Director Randy Skinner says there trees across roads and on top of houses, gas leaks and multiple downed power lines that left 400 to 500 people without electricity Sunday night.
While no injuries have been reported, Skinner says the tornado damaged 20 to 30 homes and just under 10 businesses. It tore buildings in half, ripped chunks out roofs and left debris and devastation everywhere.
Crofford arrived to find his family’s fabrication shop missing its entire roof and two walls and spent the day clearing away the wreckage.
“When I came here, I felt a deep pit in my stomach, like I lost a job. I couldn’t work no more,” he said. “Well, today I had to work, but still.”
The 13-year-old says the store was one of his family’s sources of income. He says they had to work fast to salvage everything they could before the rain hits.
Atmos Energy crews and first responders were out in force Monday. Logan says he hopes to organize more volunteers to help in any way they can.
“We’ll have this damage here tomorrow and the next day and the next day and at that point, we will mobilize volunteers to put the city back together.”
But not everything can be rebuilt.
“This is where [my grandfather] met my grandmother,” Crofford said, looking around at the demolished building. “And now it’s just bricks and wood.”
Skinner told WCBI that the electrical grid is close to coming back up, saying only 100 to 150 people were still without power as of 11:30 AM.