Residents of town hit by tornado reveal how TV weatherman saved them

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Leah Ann Hubbard and her neighbors are accustomed to “storm weather” in the small town of Amory, Mississippi—and they all look to local TV meteorologist Matt Loban to see what they should expect.

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Given its frequency, the city generally has an odd attitude towards high winds and severe weather.

But as Mr. Lubhan gave Friday night’s forecast on the local station wtva, The Amory residents knew that something was very different.

“Hey man, on the north side of Amory, it’s coming in,” Mr. Lubhan told the audience, a note of urgency in his voice.

As more detailed images of the weather emerged from the path of the tornado, he said: “Dear Jesus, please help them, amen.”

The power had already gone out in Ms. Hubbard’s home when she issued that prayer. but he told Granthshala The meteorologist’s urgency and demeanor throughout that broadcast via phone on Sunday sent him huddled under his mattress in the bathtub with his two dogs.

“He definitely saved lives,” Ms Hubbard, 45, said. Granthshala,

The tornado-generating storm system that Mr. Laubhan warned about on Friday blazed a 170-mile path of devastation across parts of the South, killing at least 26 people in two states.

Spotting on radar a huge sail headed for Amory, a town of about 6,000 people in Mississippi, Mr. Lubhan raised the alarm.

Hubbard said, “We knew it was coming, but you didn’t know if it would touch.” “All of a sudden, Matt says, ‘This is a potentially deadly tornado.’ I just remember him repeatedly saying ‘ghatak’.

Despite the area’s frequent severe storms, she noted that “most of us have never lived in a town where a tornado touched down”.

“There is a chance of severe thunderstorms every week, especially in the spring and fall,” she said. “What made it different was, first of all, the touchdown in Winona and knowing the same thing was going for us. It was expected to be weak … but we knew to be ready.

“And then what really stood out was when Matt said ‘Deadly tornado… Arsenal, take cover.’ Then, you know.’

Ms Hubbard said his words inspired her to bow down.

“Everybody looked around to see if they needed shelter for the tornado,” she said, adding that her words “gave us about an hour’s warning, maybe we should take it seriously.” Maybe we should really be prepared.” , so I started taking out my mattress because I’m about to get in the tub with my two dogs.”

His words of warning quickly became a terrifying reality.

There’s a monster roaming around your house and your town, and you can’t do anything. And you are just praying for yourself and for others.

Leah Ann Hubbard, Amory, Mississippi

“The last I heard him say, ‘The wreckage is 7,000 feet in the air,’ and then the lights go out, the phone service dies, and you’re in the dark with the dogs,” she said.

“So it was sad… I only heard the rain falling, and it must have been thunder; It’s hard to remember, because you’re in fight or flight mode. Above all, you only feel the power.

“You know there’s a demon looming over your house and your town, and you can’t do anything. And you’re just praying for yourself and for others.

Emory suffered extensive damage, while the town of Rolling Fork, more than three hours north in Mississippi, was nearly flattened. More than a dozen people were killed in Sharkey County, home to Rolling Fork alone.

The Rolling Fork/Silver City tornado has been preliminarily classified as a giant Category 4 tornado, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) said Saturday.

In Monroe County, where Emory is located, the coroner announced late Saturday that a father and child were among the dead.

Ethan Herndon, 34, and 23-month-old Riley May Herndon died at their home in Wren, eight miles from Amory.

Ms Hubbard said it looked “like an apocalypse” when she went out to survey the damage in Amory on Saturday.

“You see all these houses covered in trees, the streets have been cleared of trees, but” the debris remains piled up along the cleared streets, he said.

“Not many people are out; They must have gone somewhere where they can be reassured and recover a bit,” she continued.

“The people you see there are tired. they are working hard; It’s not manic, it’s not panic, it’s just coincidence that it happened, still a little bit of a shock. They’re doing what they can.”

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency in affected counties as President Joe Biden and FEMA pledged full federal aid. The tornado was the region’s deadliest in at least a decade and possibly more than half a century.

Ms. Hubbard, who volunteers Amory Humane Societysaid that when she went to the shelter she found that it was badly damaged.

When crews arrived in “eerie darkness” after the storm, more than 60 frightened animals had escaped from the damaged enclosures and had to be cordoned off.

The Amory Humane Society asked other shelters to step in because the building was so severely affected. “But we consider it a miracle that not a single animal was harmed,” Hubbard said. By Sunday, nearly all of the animals were safely housed elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the human inhabitants of Amory were counting their blessings, partly due to the spontaneous prayers of the local meteorologist.

Mr. Lauban’s social media, a repeat Emmy winner, perhaps foreshadowed his ill-fated broadcast on Friday.

The three most important things in his life are listed in his bio: “God > Family > Weather.”

“Without Matt and the tornado sirens, we wouldn’t have known anything bad was coming,” Hubbard says. “Until it was too late.”

Residents of town hit by tornado reveal how TV weatherman saved them

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