YAZOO COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - All the weather people had warned us it was bad system coming at us. They were absolutely right. This one first touched ground in Louisiana, crossed the Mississippi River, hitting Eagle Lake and straight up the road to Yazoo City.
Governor Haley Barbour was coming up Highway 49 to go to his Yazoo City home as the storm hit.
"I was almost to Bentonia when the storm hit. We were coming this way," Governor Barbour said.
I asked, "And what was the first thing you saw and what did you think?"
Barbour replied, "When you come up 49 just before you get to four points, the big intersection, that sort of denominates that you are in Yazoo City, off to the right Hillcrest Church was completely obliterated. The funeral home there, where we are standing now a restaurant that has been here all of my life, Rib Eye's knocked out walls, ripped off roofs, and when we stopped here you could still smell the gas. And the people that own it, Mitchell Saxton that owns it, was working to get the gas cut off," Barbour added.
He was deeply moved by the scenes and people where he grew up being hit so hard.
"It's a really bad tornado. It reminds you of Katrina," Barbour added.
The Hillcrest Baptist Church near the intersection of Highways 16 and 49 on top of the hill at Yazoo City was demolished.
Sixty year old Dale Thrasher was in the church preparing it for Sunday services and miraculously survived.
"Saw the ceiling coming in, chairs and stuff going, I got under the table we have up front for the offering, and everything else just come down around me. That little table held all that building. The good Lord took care of me," Thrasher said.
Up on that same hill at four corners, near the Rib Eye Steak Restaurant, the storm picked up Rob and Ashley Saxton in their car as they were trying to make it to the restaurant freezer.
"We were scared to death. It surprised me when we were just lifted up in the air. We were trying to make it to the walk in freezer. It just lifted us up and floated us around, off the ground, off the ground. It just turned us around. Nothing like it," said Rob and Ashley Saxton.
They suffered minor injury, mostly from broken car glass. Three hours after the storm hit injured people were still being brought out of the hills on the backs of four wheelers.
Twenty people were taken to hospitals in Yazoo City, another 19 were treated and released at an emergency clinic. Once the storm left Yazoo City and moved just north of east through the countryside, it's power was overwhelming at it went down country roads wiping out huge trees and flipping house trailers.
The governor fear's many deaths from the storm. We know for sure one died here in that trailer, some 13 miles from Yazoo City in the Midway community.
Seventy eight year old Stella Martin was killed and her 80 year-old husband, Mills Martin is in critical condition.
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