A tornado destroyed at least four houses and damaged an estimated 25 others Saturday morning but no serious injuries were reported, officials said.
The twister, reported to be about 100 yards wide, also caused extensive damage to the high school, the junior high and a service station in this Sunflower County town of about 3,500.Mayor Harvey Springer said several looters were seen at the high school, which had extensive damage to classrooms and the gymnasium. He said he didn't know how long it would be before students could return to school.
Police officer Otis Abron said he was monitoring his radio when the window of his patrol car was blown out by hail. The tornado touched down moments later about 200 yards away.
"I can't describe much of it," he said. "It just looked like a dark spot coming through."
"The best thing about this whole thing is that there were no injuries reported," he said.
Sharron Gary, 25, said she jumped into a closet after she saw the family car rolling down the street. The roof of the Garys' house was blown off and the living room was destroyed.
"If anybody had been in the living room, it would have been death," she said. Five other people, including three children, were in the house when the tornado hit. No one was injured.
"We fell into the closet," said Arlicia Gary, 18. "Everything was shaking, glass was falling, tables slamming up against the door. It seemed like it just came down on top of us."
One woman was sitting in her kitchen when the tornado hit.
"All of a sudden it got dark," said Emma Bankston, 55. "I ran into a hall and I was scared to death. I didn't hear nothing but noise."
"It was just terrible," she said. "I couldn't do nothing but just cry."
Her house had only minor damage, but the house next door was destroyed.