Vicksburg, MS Tornado, Dec 1953
VICIOUS TORNADOES HIT SOUTH; SIX KILLED, OVER 100 INJURED.
Some Sources List 12 Dead.
Theater Filled With Boys And Girls Is Demolished In Vicksburg.
VICKSBURG, Miss., Dec. 5 (AP) â€“ Death-dealing tornadoes twisted in hammer-like bounces through Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas tonight, leaving death and destruction behind.
The dead in the wake of the multiple twister numbered at least six and the injured exceeds 100. Some reports placed deaths at 12, including 10 at Vicksburg.
The worst of three reported twisters smashed downtown Vicksburg, demolishing a theater full of boys and girls enjoying a Saturday night movie. At least six persons were killed along its narrow path.
Another tornado struck at Montrose, Ark., and first reports said two children were missing.
A third tornado blasted the communities of Ouachita City, Rocky Branch and Spencer near Monroe in Northern Louisiana, mounting an injury toll of 11 persons. No deaths were reported.
A violent windstorm struck a farming section 10 miles west of Clarksdale, Miss., injuring seven persons.
Storm Comes Silently.
The Vicksburg blow came out of an eerie early nightfall, silently and viciously, so that residents of Vicksburg only short distances from its path did not realize what was happening.
From downtown Vicksburg, the twisting funnel roared up in a mighty hop and struck again, with less, force, in a residential district.
It snapped all electrical power, blanketing the city with darkness, which was relieved only by the flickering flames of a dozen fires started by the storm.
Inside the Saenger Theater, the bulk of the storm's injured screamed and sobbed for help, for their parents. Most of the injured were reported to be boy and girl patrons engaged in watching their customary Saturday night movie.
Another theater was reported blown down.
The whirling wind blew down homes, business buildings and toppled buildings onto automobile tops.
It demolished a day nursery, killing two babies.
In its wake, Gov. Hugh White send National Guard units into the stricken city to guard against looting. Nearly every store window in downtown Vicksburg was blown in.
The Red Cross rushed a 10-person disaster team into the area with 150 units of blood serum for use in shock.
Aid Rushed In.
Ambulances from throughout the area sirened(?) their way toward Vicksburg, where hospital facilities were strained beyond capacities. The injured lay on floors of corridors. Doctors and nurses labored among the worst hurt in dining rooms.
Communications were snarled beyond much help in the worst of the downtown storm area. Some lines still stood in residential fringes along the storm's path.
The Anniston Star Alabama 1953-12-06
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