JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Stephanie Huerta remembers clearly the day in 2014 when she finally got back to her mobile home in the Highlands in Pearl after the neighborhood was hit by a massive tornado. Her home was there, but many of her neighbors weren’t so blessed.
“There was nothing left,” she said. “There was just something different about that day. There were people that were just wandering, because we just... we just thought it was another storm.”
Rankin County Emergency Operations Center Deputy Director Brian Grantham was in his first month of work when those tornadoes came. The scene was one that has stayed with him.
“To hear the water pipes that were still flowing, to hear the natural gas that was flowing, simply because the structure had been moved from its foundation,” he said. “People crying, searching for loved ones, and of course sirens.”
“Trailers turned on their sides, there were people who had lost cars, trailers on top of cars, trailers just gone, the whole slab was gone,” Huerta said of her neighbor’s home.
Weather and emergency officials say if you live in a mobile home, finding a shelter in your area to stay in until the storms pass could be a life and death issue.
“We absolutely recommend that you leave your mobile home, find a sturdy shelter, whether it be friends or family, if you’re in Rankin County we have a storm shelter just down the road,” Grantham said.
But what if the tornado pops up on you? What if you didn’t see it coming in time to get to safety?
“They recommend that you leave your mobile home, you find the lowest lying area, probably a ditch in your area,” Grantham said. “Lie down in the ditch and cover your head because that is safer than staying in the mobile home that could turn over, roll, have a lot of damage to it.”
Safety officials also advise looking for a ditch if you’re on the road in your car when the tornado comes. If you’re looking for a shelter in Wednesday’s weather, contact your local emergency operations center for a location.