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Tornado-torn Amory, Mississippi, struggles but still stands

By: Jaylin R. Smith/School of Journalism & New Media Graduate Student

The storm has passed but the people of Amory, Mississippi are still struggling. Three days after a tornado tore up the town, many are still without power and all of the town’s residents are under a “Boil-Water Alert.”

Nicholaus Weaver, assistant police chief in the Amory Police Department, describes the lack of safe water in the community as the result of the EF-F4 tornado’s “direct hit” on the city’s water treatment plant.

According to the National Weather Service office, the tornado, which also severely damaged Rolling Fork, Silver City and areas of Carroll County, was on the ground for an hour and clocked wind speeds ranging between 166 mph and 200 mph. Even though there was mass destruction across the Amory community, no fatalities have been reported.

For that, 48-year-old Amory citizen Claudia Bates is grateful. She experienced sheer terror inside her home on Friday night.

“I went to lay flat for shelter. As I began to lay flat, I could feel the wind gust as though it was grabbing my feet and suctioning me back, and I resisted it and tried to move swiftly. And I went and lied down in the bathroom. I lay flat and just called on Jesus,” said Bates.

The Amory, Mississippi home of Claudia Bates, damaged in the Friday night tornado, but not destroyed. Photo by Jaylin R. Smith.

Bates’ craftsman-style home received major water damage after her windows shattered and a part of her roof was crushed by a fallen tree branch.

Other buildings in Amory fared even worse. The Seventh Day Adventist Church, located on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, has been destroyed. This small church with 25 members has been a fixture in the West Amory community for several years. Nothing is left but a pile of wood and chairs.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church in West Amory is in shambles. Photo by Jaylin R. Smith.

But the community is coming together. Organizations like Alfa Insurance and the State Farm Bureau have set up food stations at the entrance of town to provide citizens with warm meals, cold drinks and support. As the community walks along the long road ahead, they are finding many ready to help in the recovery efforts.

Local organizations make sure that no one goes hungry in Amory. Photo by Jaylin R. Smith.

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