HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says more than 60 people were injured in the storms that hit the state a day ago. But he says no lives were lost, in part because people were given ample warning that a tornado was approaching.
Bryant and other officials said at a news conference Monday that tornado sirens sounded across the Hattiesburg area, giving people as much as 30 minutes of warning that the twister was on its way.
They say there were other factors that may have saved lives.
The University of Southern Mississippi was on Mardi Gras holiday, so there were fewer students on campus. Businesses were either closed or not very crowded because it was Sunday.
Bryant says 200 homes and mobile homes were damaged or destroyed.
The twister was part of a wave of severe storms that downed trees, damaged buildings and injured more than a dozen people.
It traveled down one of Hattiesburg's main streets and mangled homes, commercial buildings and structures on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. Emergency officials say at least 10 people were injured in surrounding Forrest County and three were hurt to the west in Marion County, but they aren't aware of any deaths.
A Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman says it appears that a single tornado caused the damage in those two counties and Lamar County. Hundreds of homes are damaged in Forrest County, along with a couple dozen in the other two.
On the campus of the university, trees were snapped in half around the heavily damaged Alumni House where part of the roof was ripped away. The university says no one was hurt but that it was under a state of emergency, anyone away from campus should stay away until further notice.
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