Montgomery, Livingston, AL (Other Towns) Tornado, Feb 1945
TORNADO STRIKES ALABAMA CAPITAL.
BIG STORM STARTS IN MISSISSIPPI; MANY ARE KILLED.
BOXCARS AND HOUSES ARE RUBBLE HEAPS IN TEMPEST'S FURY.
(By The Associated Press)
Tornadoes swirling over Mississippi and Alabama late yesterday took a toll of at least 43 dead, 200 injured, and property damage running into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Worst hit was a crescent shaped area on the southern and western outskirts of Montgomery, Ala., where more than 50 boxcars of a freight train were ripped and tossed about like match boxes.
Montgomery alone conuted its dead at 26, and its injured at more than 75. Two government warehouses were levelled. In Chisholm, a cotton mill community, 35 homes were demolished and many others damaged in a 20-block area.
Nine were known dead at Livingston, 125 miles west of Montgomery, and one at York, nine miles from Livingston. At Livingston, as at Montgomery, a freight train was tossed about and one of the Livingston dead was a trainman.
The storm first hit Meridian, Miss., leaving a path of destruction as it cut about the city on two sides, before turning eastward into Alabama. The dead in the Meridian area were placed unofficially at seven. More than fifty persons were injured there.
Between 30 and 40 houses were destroyed in the Meridian area and torrential rains hampered search for the injured and the dead.
After a tour of the Montgomery area Gov. CHAUNCEY SPARKS of Alabama ordered three companies of the State Guard into action to prevent looting.
Montgomery hospitals, jammed with the injured, were handicapped by a lack of lighting. The entire capital city was without electricity for several hours. Telephone service was disrupted.
A baby was born at one hospital only a few minutes before the lights came back on.
One of the Montgomery dead was MRS. EDGAR BROWN, a resident of the Chisholm community, whose husband had just arrived home on a furlough from the Army.
Maxwell Field at Montgomery escaped damage but was plunged into darkness for several hours.
The State Guard distributed cots at vacant buildings to provide temporary shelter.
Fifteen of the Montgomery dead were Negroes. State patrolmen removed the bodies of six Negroes from one house. Six of the nine dead at Livingston were also Negroes.
The Montgomery storm, which came on the heels of a day long downpour of rain, struck first in the area of the Army's huge holding and reconsignment point and levelled two of the six warehouses there.
It sliced a path of destruction through the western edge of the city and hit with new fury at Chisholm, near Kilby Prison.
As news of the tornado spread to the city, curious and anxious residents flocked to the scene by the thousands and traffic congestion blocked the roads at some places.
Law enforcement officers and military police from Maxwell and Gunter Fields, however, soon cleared the streets.
Gas escaping from broken mains threatened further devastation but no serious fires were reported.
Cadets from the two air bases were pressed into service to help clear away the debris and the Red Cross, Salvation Army and civilian defense agencies helped care for the injured and homeless.
Most of the Mississippi injured were residents along the seven mile stretch of highway from Meridian to Causeyville. W. Y. BRAME, Lauderdale County sheriff, said "thirty or forty houses" were destroyed or badly damaged.
The winds cut a swath a quarter of a mile wide through Causeyville and Stinson before moving north and east to strike Vimville and Long Creek.
Hospitals were crowded and many of the injured were believed in "serious condition." Reports of storm damages trickled in from small communities southeast of Meridian, indicating some persons might have been injured at Rose Hill and Bay Springs.
The Red Cross, county and city officials and members of the Mississippi State Guard and state police joined in the rescue work last night.
The Dothan Eagle Alabama 1945-02-13