Deadly tornado devastated Hazlehurst 50 years ago today

EF-4 storm killed more than 30 people

Deadly tornado devastated Hazlehurst 50 years ago today
Tornado damage in Hazlehurst on January 23, 1969 (Source: WLBT/MDAH)

HAZLEHURST, MS (WLBT) - One of the deadliest tornadoes in Mississippi history happened 50 years ago today. The worst of the damage was in Hazlehurst, where the EF-4 storm hit before the sun came up on January 23, 1969.

Tornado damage in Hazlehurst on January 23, 1969 (Source: WLBT/MDAH)
Tornado damage in Hazlehurst on January 23, 1969 (Source: WLBT/MDAH)

The tornado cut a line from Jefferson to Newton County, focusing most of its force in Simpson and Copiah counties. In all, 32 people lost their lives, and more than 200 were hurt.

Tornado damage in Hazlehurst on January 23, 1969 (Source: WLBT/MDAH)
Tornado damage in Hazlehurst on January 23, 1969 (Source: WLBT/MDAH)

It took years for the affected areas to recover. The National Weather Service ranks the storm as the fifth deadliest tornado in Mississippi history.

Tornado damage in Hazlehurst on January 23, 1969 (Source: WLBT/MDAH)
Tornado damage in Hazlehurst on January 23, 1969 (Source: WLBT/MDAH)

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