Steens resident shares experience of last night’s tornado

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – The National Weather Service was in Lowndes County to survey the damage left behind by Tuesday night’s storms.

But residents in the area are already beginning the difficult tasks of cleaning up, assessing, and preparing to rebuild.

WCBI’s Rosalyn Freeman was in Steens as emergency crews and homeowners faced the “morning after”.

As the sun rose this morning, people began to get a better look at the extent of the destruction left by Tuesday night’s storm.

Trees on top of homes, roofs ripped from houses, and debris tangled everywhere. The hardest hit areas included Highway 12 and Cal-Steens Road.

Lowndes County native James W Brown said this is not his first tornado, but this one hit too close to home.

“Everybody says it sounds like a freight train and it is. It’s like a train, I mean a big train. Somebody tells you they hear a tornado is like they hear a train believe them, if I would have been in my wife’s bathroom I wouldn’t be here today but I was in my own bathroom on the other side of the house which is still intact,” said Brown.

Brown said that once the tornado was over, his next challenge was getting out of his damaged home.

“I couldn’t get the front door open I couldn’t go out the patio door because of all the debris and everything. I couldn’t go out the garage door right here because everything was piled up against that door, if you go around there you will see it boarded up where the tornado pushed the boards against the wall,” said Brown.

And while homes and items inside are precious, life is priceless.

“I can replace this, I am glad that I am alive because I didn’t know it,” said Brown.

And while families are assessing damage to their homes, Fire Coordinator Neil Austin cautioned families to wait for professional help.

“Afterward, be careful about going into structures that are collapsing and kind of stay back until we can get a proper assessment of what’s going on,” said Austin.

Crews are still working to restore power to dozens of Lowndes County residents.

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