Tracking the tornado's path - - Jackson, MS

Tracking the tornado's path

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By Walt Grayson - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Saturday's deadly tornado stayed on the ground for hours as it crossed Mississippi from west to east. To get an idea of the scope of its track, skycopter three followed the storm's path from where it originated to where it began to weaken.

The tornado immediately caused significant damage from the moment it set down on the banks of Willow Bayou, west of Tallulah, Louisiana. Numerous houses were significantly damaged, if not out right reduced to the slab within a half mile of where the tornado first touched down.

The scene was replayed again and again for the next 120 miles, all the way to Choctaw County, Mississippi.

After Tallulah, the storm cut a swath of damage on the north west end of Eagle Lake, north of Vicksburg. It caused more damage just south in Valley Park, where buildings were blown into Deer Creek from where they used to stand on Highway 61.

And the path of damage stretched farther northeast from where more structures were reduced to ruin on the banks of Lake George between Sartartia and Holly Bluff. The storm cut a path a mile wide causing damage on both sides of Lake George.

Then, at about Highway 3 at the edge of the Delta going into the hills, it seemed to gain momentum as it took a deadly aim on south Yazoo City.

Near Yazoo City, the path of destruction was over one and three quarters mile wide. There are numerous places where only piles of rubble mark where homes used to be.

The damage continues across Highway 49 at Yazoo City eastward, leaving total destruction in its wake. Where there were no houses, timber was felled in an area approaching two miles wide. And where there were mobile homes and houses, they were significantly damaged.

Around Ebenezer in Holmes County, look down any road on the tornado's path and homes are gone. And more lives lost here.

Farther eastward, the storm took down a swath of timber a mile wide where it crossed I-55.

At Durant, the storm weakened somewhat, but still caused power outages and roof damage.

Up the Big Black River and into the country side east of Duran, it was no challenge to follow the storm's path of broken trees.

The now mature storm strengthened again and obliterated a community just outside Weir in Choctaw County. The most deaths in any one area occurred here.

More than a dozen homes were completely destroyed on one road.

As one final hurrah, the tornado took out a major power transmission line, missing the generating plant where it originated by no more than a few hundred yards.

A total of 10 deaths have been attributed to the storm in Mississippi. Considering the extent of total devastation caused by this storm, the fact that the death toll wasn't significantly higher has to be considered nothing short of a miracle.

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