Kilmichael Tornado: One Year Later

When a tornado swept through the area of Kilmichael, it left the area without power, some with no beds to sleep im and others without a home.

Posted: Apr 30, 2018 10:10 PM
Updated: Apr 30, 2018 11:13 PM

KILMICHAEL, Miss. (WTVA) - When a tornado swept through the area of Kilmichael, it left the area without power, some with no beds to sleep in and others without a home.

Now a year later, the impact is still felt for some, while many want the area to be prepared for another severe storm season.

"We got in the home and we could hear so much falling," recalled Dannie Witty. "I said, 'Baby, let's get in the bathroom.'"

The longtime resident saw the worst of the strong tornado that hit her town with speeds up to 110 mph.

"So we went in the bathroom and we could hear the backdoor slamming. So we decided we'd come out."

They discovered just next door, her niece's family was inside sleeping when a tree pummeled into their home.

They said, "Auntie, let us in. We've lost our house."

When they came out the next day, what they saw was unrecognizable. Their home covered with a tree and debris.

After months of clean-up, like so many other yards, the houses that stood for decades - now gone.

"Getting limbs off the house and raking up limbs," Witty said. "We thought about that it could have been some of our lives but the Lord spared us through it all."

Witty's family was just one of many hit hard by the tornado that spanned five miles long. It left the town without power for days.

"It's been a slow, arduous process because we didn't have a clear 501(C)3," explained Mayor Billy Howell.

That transition was one Nancy Robinson saw in front of her yard as she witnessed her neighbor lose their home.

"I went to the backdoor, looked out and saw those trees," Robinson shared. "I just broke down and started crying because I was wondering why I was still here."

In town, most of the clean-up has been done. Yet, trees are still down in the county, according to EMA Director Allan Pratt.

He says a long term recovery committee is working to help residents rebuild.

Even though the town is almost back to normal, recovering for Witty has left an impact even a year after the tornado.

"It left, I'd say a lonely spirit, because two neighbors are gone," she said. "It left us alive."

The work still continues in some parts of Montgomery County. Meanwhile, residents in "The Town That Cares" hope the severity of the 2017 storm does not repeat itself in the future.

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