William Carey students coming to grips with devastating tornado

William Carey students coming to grips with devastating tornado
Multiple vehicles at William Carey University were tossed around when a tornado touched down early Saturday morning. (Photo source: WLOX)
Multiple vehicles at William Carey University were tossed around when a tornado touched down early Saturday morning. (Photo source: WLOX)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - Every building of the campus has been damaged, and lives have been altered.  Although four people were killed just blocks away, on campus, lives were spared.

A few pieces of artwork and a few articles of clothes is all Jada Jones has left, and her car was damaged as well. But, she thought she was going to lose much more.

"I kind of woke up to just rain so I kind of didn't expect anything....I just laid back down," said Jada, who is from Moss Point. "But I started feeling pressure on my back and literally the entire ceiling and everything was falling on top of me."

Jada's home, Ross Hall, is the dorm for the women's basketball team.

"My roommate was screaming and she literally was pulling things off me. But as she was pulling things off me, the wind was pulling things back on," said Jada. "It took us a while to actually get free."

Friend and teammate Savannah Saucier was at home in Hancock County, and came in to help.

"My phone just starting going nuts and I was like 'Oh my gosh. What's wrong?' And I looked at my phone and they told me what happened," said Savannah.

Administrators are scrambling to figure out to finish out the school term. They are working with the University of Southern Mississippi and Pearl River Community College for classroom space.

The option of online classes are also being considered.

"I just know that we rebuilt from Katrina, and we're dedicating to rebuilding again and going on as the best we can," said media relations spokesperson Mia Overton.

Gov. Phil Bryant and a room full of state officials, as well as Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree, came in for support.

"As we flew over, I realized the extent of the damage to this wonderful university. But until I arrived on the campus, did it really take the effect of recognizing just what has happened here," said Bryant.

Emergency authorities are warning about the second round of the storm as it approaches. Currently, an estimated 4,000 people are without power.

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