In the aftermath of the freak storm that rampaged through Jackson County Mississippi last night, at least a dozen trailers remain either upside down, inside out, or otherwise torn to pieces.
The proverbial alarm bells started ringing just before 8:00 pm on Monday, as a strong cold front moving into the region triggered severe thunderstorm warnings throughout Mississippi’s Gulf Coast region. In the town of Gautier, heavy prolonged rains throughout the day had already produced some flooding along the roadways. Then, several thunderheads accelerated towards the shore at once, taking on a distinct bow-shaped appearance, according to archived radar data retrieved from weather.com senior meteorologist Jon Erdman.
That’s when storm winds began to rip through the Santa Maria RV Park in Gautier, hitting some homes hard enough to knock the trailers off their blocks, overturning others, and in a few cases simply shredding them.
Park resident Harrold Robbins said he and girlfriend Debbie Dales were getting ready for bed when the storm hit. As he recalls it, he was standing in front of their trailer when:
“The front end flipped,” he said. “It launched me back into the back end. Then it flipped over on the other side and came back up in the air and landed on our car.” Both Harold and Debbie were treated at a nearby hospital for minor injuries.
Jessica Cook told Mississippi television station WLOX that after getting a storm alert, she looked out her window and said to herself, “Well, that looks a little bad.”
Wind blown debris began hitting her trailer so hard that all Cook could think to do was grab her son and stay low. As the two of them huddled together, along with the boy’s father, Cook recalls:
“We were just holding each other and telling each other we loved each other because it was that bad.”
The storm hit Cook’s home head on, knocking it clean off of its blocks, while her next-door-neighbor’s trailer was completely destroyed, with its resident pinned under the wreckage. The fire department managed to free him and he was taken to a hospital.
National Weather Service meteorologist Freddie Zeigler in Slidell, Louisiana, said a crew was on the scene in Mississippi to assess damage and to determine whether a tornado hit the area. Early reports were that straight-line winds as high as 50-60 mph swept through the area. Miraculously, the 23 people injured in the storm have all been since released from the hospital, according to Jackson County Mississippi Director of Emergency Management Earl Etheridge
Gulf Coast roads were littered with debris early Tuesday, and in some places the street lights were still not working. In Gautier Mississippi, residents of the Santa Maria RV sifted through the debris, attempting to salvage what belongings they could in the wake of the storm.