While the Northeast is battling through a major blizzard, Hattiesburg, Mississippi residents are trying to put their lives back together after a mighty tornado. According to USA Today published on Feb 12, 2013, this is the third time in a decade that natural disaster has struck the community. “Former NFL quarterback, Brett Favre lives in this community.
USA Today reports that, “A series of twisters, which also struck Alabama, caused major damage late Sunday afternoon. Among the hardest-hit areas were Hattiesburg and surrounding communities, including Southern Mississippi University, Favre's alma mater.”
More than 4,000 homes were without power late Monday in Hattiesburg. A dark twister ripped through the city, and its destructive path was captured on video. Favre had just returned home from the university, where his 13-year-old daughter, Breleigh, was practicing volleyball when it hit, “Where the tornado started, as the crow flies, was probably a half-mile to 1 mile straight east of my property,'' Favre said. "Then it just (veered) and crossed the main highway in Hattiesburg before heading to Southern Miss. You never hear of a college getting hit with a true tornado. The good Lord's looking out (because) the students were gone for Mardis Gras break.
“The former Green Bay Packers star quarterback lives in the community of Oak Grove, west of the city. The damaged area includes Oak Grove High, where athletic facilities were wiped out. Favre, who served as an unpaid offensive coordinator for the football team last season, often worked out at the school prior to his retirement with the Minnesota Vikings after the 2010 season.”
According to Wikipedia, “Previously inhabited by the Choctaw Native Americans the area now called Hattiesburg was obtained by the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Mount Dexter in 1805. After the treaty was ratified, European-American settlers began to move into the area. The region around Hattiesburg was involved in the nuclear arms race of the Cold War. In the 1960s, two nuclear devices were detonated in the salt domes near Lumberton, Mississippi about 28 miles southwest of Hattiesburg. Extensive follow-up of the area by the EPA has not revealed levels of nuclear contamination in the area that would be harmful to humans.
“Eight years ago, “Despite being about 75 miles (121 km) inland, Hattiesburg was hit very hard in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. Around 10,000 structures in the area received major damage of some type. Approximately 80 percent of the city's roads were blocked by trees and power was out in the area for up to 14 days. The storm killed 24 people in Hattiesburg and the surrounding areas. The city is strained by a large influx of temporary evacuees and new permanent residents from coastal Louisiana and Mississippi towns to the south, where damage from Katrina was catastrophic.”
“Hattiesburg has a humid subtropical climate, with short, mild winters and hot, humid summers. Snowfall is extremely rare, but on December 11, 2008, areas around Hattiesburg received 3 to 5 inches. As is the case throughout the southern USA, severe thunderstorms can pose a threat, particularly during spring. Such storms spawn frequent lightning, heavy rain, occasional large hail and tornadoes. On February 10, 2013 at around 5 p.m. CDT, a large wedge tornado struck portions of the city and was caught on camera by several storm chasers and eyewitnesses. It caused major damage to the high school and the western portion of the University of Southern, Mississippi. The severity of the damage is unknown, but surveys will be conducted. The tornado has been given a preliminary rating of EF4, there were no fatalities as people had a 30 minute lead time when the warning was issued, but over 80 people were injured.”
USA Today quotes Brett Favre, "I know there are people out there who would like to help either by donating (money) or their time ... coming down with their chainsaw,'' Favre said. "Any and all (assistance) would be great.''