Feb 11, 2013 / 11:00 pm
Jeff Revette ran from his car and lay face-down in the grass next to the red-brick wall of a church as a tornado roared toward him, with debris scattering and electrical transformers exploding. Twenty seconds later, bricks were strewn across a flattened pickup truck a mere 10 feet away amid toppled trees and power lines.
Revette, a 43-year-old National Guard soldier who returned from a deployment to Afghanistan about a year ago, stood up unharmed. A woman who had been driving the smashed pickup and had taken cover near him was pinned by some insulation and other debris, but she was OK after Revette lifted the wreckage off her.
"It's just amazing," he said. "God is real. I am one blessed man."
The powerful twister tore a path across at least three counties, injuring more than 80 people, but residents marveled that no one died. Officials said several circumstances converged to ensure no lives were lost in what should have been a deadly storm: Sirens and TV broadcasts gave people as much as 30 minutes of warning; the University of Southern Mississippi was emptier than usual because of Mardi Gras; and most businesses were either closed or quiet because it was a Sunday.
Forecasters were able to closely track where the storm was headed and had confirmed reports from both people on the ground and from radar, making it easier to give warning, said weather service meteorologist Chad Entremont.
Read more World News
- 72nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor
- Egypt court reduces heavy sentences
- Attacks kill 15 in Iraq
- Mandela's state funeral set for Dec. 15
- Hundreds to celebrate pot anniversary
- Woman live-tweets husband's death
- Shanghai pollution at dangerous levels
- Whale rescuers feeling more optimistic
- Driving 50-ton battle tank - not easy
- Russian diplomats accused of fraud
- White House changes story
- Three years in prison for ivory smuggler
(Click for RSS instructions.)