Various Towns, MS, AR Tornado, Feb 1929



(By United Press.)
Memphis, Tenn., Feb. 26. -- Working in darkness relieved only by the flickering light of lanterns and torches, rescue parties tore at a mass of debris at Duncan, Miss., all through last night, seeking bodies of thirty-two dead. Two injured died in Clarksdale hospital.
The same storm that struck at Duncan and Van, Ark., also left its mark at Alligator, Miss., leaving two dead and four injured.
Fifteen bodies had been recovered at dawn and fifty men and women were being treated at emergency hospitals. It is impossible as yet to learn the extent.
The identified dead early today were:
HERMAN JOE, Chinese.
HENRY JOE, Chinese.
JOE FONG, Chinese.
At Van, Ark.:
MRS. C. I. BRUMFIELD and daughter.
National guard troops were enroute to Duncan to aid in clearing away the debris. They are exprected later today. Nearly every man in the village of 800 was injured. Residents of nearby towns responded readily to the call for aid.
A high wind whipped the town all through the night, hampering rescue workers. Rain beat down intermittently, making the work of prying through the heaped up timbers and brick dangerous because of the slippery footing.
The tornado struck without warning yesterday. Trees were toppled and broken, some being wrenched out by the roots and hurled many feet through the air. Frame buildings collapsed like card houses before the rush of wind.
A tangled mass of broken tree limbs, timbers, telephone and light poles and masonry filled the streets. Highways leading into Duncan were clogged with deep mud, in which trees were partly buried.
Fragmentary descriptions by dazed citizens who felt the storm told of a sudden darkness overshadowing the town, of intense lightning flashes and suddenly a shrieking wind.
Men and women were hurled down by the blast. Bodies were found crumpled against piles of timber which had been the sides of buildings, testifying to the force of the wind.
One man said he saw the body of a child hurled a distance of twenty feet through the air, striking a huge tree trunk. He said he was thrown down then and could not describe what followed.
Above a lull after the force of the wind had been spent could be heard the screams of the injured, children wailing for their mothers and parents crying out for members of their families.
The wailing of negroes calling with religious fervor for help from heaven rose weirdly.
Then came the wind again and a brilliant lightning display which cast a lurid, blue-white flare over the tangled mass.
AFter whipping the waters of the Mississippi river, the tornado swept across western Duncan county, just across the river in Mississippi, razing farm houses.
Shortly before 4 P. M. it struck Duncan. Cutting a swath through the town, it completely destroyed communication facilities and left the townspeople to gather their dead and injured in isolation and confusion.
Ten miles north of Duncan it hit the town of Alligator, killing two negroes and injuring an unknown number. Reports from the rural section between Duncan and Alligator indicated further deaths and damage in that section.
Continuing its arc, the storm swung back toward the river, killing two unidentified negroes as it tore through Quitman county.
Its path led the storm over Memphis, Tenn., where a severe electrical storm was accompanied by high winds. Trees were uprooted and several frame buildings blown down but no injured were reported. The storm then petered out over northeast Arkansas causing heavy rains and electrical storms but no considerable damage.

The Oelwein Daily Register Iowa 1929-02-26