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Picking up pieces after MS twisters

Thankful no one was critically hurt, town helps those whose homes were destroyed.

CALEDONIA, MS | January 13, 2008

Volunteers helped survivors pick up the shattered pieces of their lives Saturday and Sunday following tornadoes and severe thunderstorms that raked across more than 100 miles of central and northern Mississippi Thursday.

More than 100 homes were damaged or destroyed in Caledonia where the storm also ripped apart the local Church of Christ and damaged a United Methodist Church. Although about half of the town of approximately 1,000, was damaged no one was critically injured.

Noting the twister struck about 30 minutes before school was scheduled to be dismissed, local officials said it could have been much worse. None of the 1,800 pupils who attend the K-12 school were seriously hurt, but it was a near miss -- the school's gymnasium was destroyed and an empty schoolbus that was to have been used to take students home was deposited onto the roof of an old gym on the school grounds.

Winds from the twisters reached at least 140 mph in some locations and initially knocked out power to more than 1,000 homes, primarily in Attala, Holmes and Lowndes Counties. Farmers in the region also reported significant damage to livestock and outbuildings.

At least two homes were also reported to be destroyed in Sulligent, AL, near the MS line according to the National Weather Service.

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