JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Brian Bernard has spent hours since Sunday’s tornado sifting through the wreckage of his family’s house in search of his daughter’s flute. It’s not worth a lot of money, but it’s important to her and that makes it invaluable to him.
Like dozens of families across Mississippi, the 51-year-old Bernard devoted hours Tuesday to rummaging through broken boards and other debris. They try to salvage whatever is left from destroyed homes, though family pictures and other items with sentimental value often mean the most.
“Some people might think I’m crazy, but you know how kids are,” Bernard said of his 13-year-old daughter, Brooklee, who plays in the band at Petal Middle School. “She loves that flute.”
The search for the flute paid off even before the instrument turned up, when Bernard found the family’s kitten under a bed Monday. They had thought the pet had been lost to the storm.
With more than 800 homes destroyed or damaged in several counties, scenes of people rummaging through debris are as familiar as the blue tarps being stretched over battered roofs to keep the rain out.
Cleanup also continues at the University of Southern Mississippi, where six buildings were damaged in the storm. And crews throughout the area are still working to clear roads and repair power lines.
More rain and a slight risk for damaging winds and tornadoes late Tuesday afternoon threatened to complicate those efforts and deliver even more misery.
“There is a small concern of tornadoes across the southern portion of the state. It’s not a huge concern like the other day, but it is a concern nonetheless,” said Alan Campbell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson. He said there’s also the possibility of straight-line winds of 60 miles per hour.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeff Rent said any storms and strong winds could be dangerous, especially because damaged trees that are still standing could be knocked down.
Rent said emergency crews hustled Tuesday morning to assess damages while there was a break in the rain. Rent said officials already know of more than 800 damaged and destroyed homes and that number is likely to increase. At least 80 people were injured in the storms.
David Dean spent Tuesday rounding up the last of the items he could salvage from his demolished home in Petal.
“It’s really just kind of sinking in today. The first time in 54 years of my life I’m homeless,” Dean said Tuesday. “But God is going to take care of it.”
Dean and his wife were at church when the tornado hit, but his two adult daughters and a future son-in-law were in the house when it was demolished.
“As soon as I got here and found out my daughters were all right, I was happy. I said don’t worry about the house,” Dean said.
Dean said his family will stay with relatives and friends until they figure out what to do.
“We lost a lot of sentimental stuff, but there ain’t nothing we can do about it,” he said.
Officials said despite dozens of injuries blamed on the storm, no one died. They said the human toll could have been much worse, but the nature of the storm allowed forecasters to give people ample warning. Furthermore, the University of Southern Mississippi _ which was in the tornado’s path _ was emptier than usual because of Mardi Gras. And some businesses were either closed or quieter than normal because it was a Sunday.
Associated Press photographer Rogelio Solis in Petal, Miss., contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Water tips to save money, help save the Earth
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon
- What you need to know about Alzheimer's disease in Arizona
- Spring clean your windows like a pro with these 8 tips
- 7 films that should have won best-picture Oscars
- New plumbing technology saves money and improves your home
- Survey shows Arizona CFOs optimistic about 2016
- How chronic pain can affect your love life
- 5 potential warning signs about your child's development