Heat makes Leakesville's tornado recovery more difficult

LEAKESVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The City of Leakesville in Greene County is still in the process of rebuilding after a mid-April tornado tore through the town, killing one. That job is tough enough. But it's even harder now, thanks to a heat wave.

Three words from a utility line worker describe the feeling.

"It's hot, man."

Signs of destruction are everywhere, from mountains of debris to children's toys scattered on the ground, even a ball field that won't be hosting baseball games any time soon.

Tony Reddix is helping put a new roof on a damaged home. It's a job made more difficult by the heat.

"It's extremely hard. We just have to take a lot of water breaks, especially when we're on top of the house," Reddix said.  "It's extremely hot. It's got to be 110 or better, so all we can do is take a little break, cool off, and go back to it."

But still they pound away in the recovery effort.

Up the road, Ashley Sullivan is helping to install new windows to replace the ones blown out by the twister.  Even with the heat, he and his co-workers are glad to lend a helping hand. His is a voice of experience.

"It feels good, you know," Sullivan said. "I went through the same thing several years ago and folks helped me, so I just want to help them."

James McLemore looks over the pile of rubble that was once his home. The temperature just adds to the misery.

"We had to do it ourselves lately, because they haven't got the contracts ready to pick up the debris and stuff. So I had to tear down my own house," McLemore said.

Despite the mess, despite the inconvenience, and despite the heat, the people who live in Leakesville and the people who are helping to rebuild the city say they will persevere, no matter what.  That's a promise from Reddix.

"The city is going to have to be rebuilt. We just can't not do it. It's going to have to be rebuilt sooner or later, so we're going to have to be out here."

Workers rebuilding the city may get some good news by next week, as slightly cooler temperatures are expected. There is also a slight chance of rain, as well.

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