HATTIESBURG, Miss. — A tornado tore through Hattiesburg on Sunday as part of a wave of severe storms that injured more than a dozen people, downed trees and damaged buildings.
The twister traveled down one of Hattiesburg's main streets and mangled homes, commercial buildings and structures on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. Emergency officials said at least 10 people were injured in surrounding Forrest County and three were hurt to the west in Marion County, but they weren't aware of any deaths.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said it appeared that a single tornado caused the damage in those two counties and in Lamar County. Hundreds of homes were damaged in Forrest County, along with a couple of dozen in the two others.
Flynn said the sheer scope of the damage was slowing the assessment of damage.
"The problem is, it was so strong that there's so much debris that there's a lot of areas they haven't been able to get to yet," he said.
On the campus of the university, trees were snapped in half around the heavily damaged Alumni House where part of the roof was ripped away. Windows in a nearby building were blown out, and heavy equipment worked to clear streets nearby in a heavy rain after the worst of the weather had passed.
The university released a statement saying that no one was hurt but that it was under a state of emergency.
Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee said 10 or 15 people were injured by the tornado that slammed Hattiesburg and other parts of the county, but none of the injuries was serious.
Marion County emergency director Aaron Greer reported three injuries, with two people taken to hospitals.