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People search for sentimental items after twister

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm •  Published: February 12, 2013
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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Brian Bernard has spent hours since Sunday's tornado sifting through the wreckage of his family's house in search of his daughter's flute. It's not worth a lot of money, but it's important to her and that makes it invaluable to him.

Like dozens of families across Mississippi, the 51-year-old Bernard devoted hours Tuesday to rummaging through broken boards and other debris. They try to salvage whatever is left from destroyed homes, though family pictures and other items with sentimental value often mean the most.

"Some people might think I'm crazy, but you know how kids are," Bernard said of his 13-year-old daughter, Brooklee, who plays in the band at Petal Middle School. "She loves that flute."

The search for the flute paid off even before the instrument turned up, when Bernard found the family's kitten under a bed Monday. They had thought the pet had been lost to the storm.

With more than 800 homes destroyed or damaged in several counties, scenes of people rummaging through debris are as familiar as the blue tarps being stretched over battered roofs to keep the rain out.

Cleanup also continues at the University of Southern Mississippi, where six buildings were damaged in the storm. And crews throughout the area are still working to clear roads and repair power lines.

More rain and a slight risk for damaging winds and tornadoes late Tuesday afternoon threatened to complicate those efforts and deliver even more misery.

"There is a small concern of tornadoes across the southern portion of the state. It's not a huge concern like the other day, but it is a concern nonetheless," said Alan Campbell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson. He said there's also the possibility of straight-line winds of 60 miles per hour.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeff Rent said any storms and strong winds could be dangerous, especially because damaged trees that are still standing could be knocked down.

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