Residents sift through debris left after storms

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 25, 2001

The Associated Press

Sunday, November 25, 2001

The Natchez Democrat

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– Smiling as he sifted through his home’s

rubble, David Dykes took the Coke can he’d just finished and threw

it on the floor where his living room used to be.

”This is my house. I’ll throw my trash where I want,” Dykes

joked to his wife.

Dykes could smile Sunday because he considered it a miracle

his family – and most of his neighbors – were even alive. Some

24 hours earlier an F4 tornado with 200 mph winds tore through

his Madison County neighborhood.

The massive twister was part of a storm system that killed

five and injured 112 in Mississippi. Four each in Alabama and

Arkansas were also killed by the storms.

Forty-seven homes were destroyed in Madison County. Forty others

were destroyed elsewhere in Mississippi.

Joking with friends as they scrounged through his home’s debris

for photo albums, Dykes said broken tradition was a saving grace.

It was his family’s turn to host Thanksgiving, but he, his

wife and two kids instead traveled to Alabama.

”Yesterday was pretty emotional. Today you’ve got to see the

humor in it,” Dykes said. ”The fact of the matter is if we’d

been home, we’d be dead.”

Madison County Sheriff Troy Trowbridge said a tornado siren

just a mile from Dykes’ upper-middle class neighborhood and the

Thanksgiving weekend saved lives.

”A lot of people just weren’t home, thankfully,” Trowbridge


Two deaths were attributed to the Madison tornado. Two people

also died from storm related injuries near Sledge in the Mississippi

Delta. Another death was recorded in Panola County.

Residents were also sifting through wreckage in Sledge Sunday,

Mayor Lorenzo Windless said.