Tornadoes, Flooding Rip Through Columbus Area


Courtesy of Julie Heintz

Mrs. Julie Heintz, MSMS history instructor and Columbus resident, lost her car to the storm.

Davan Reece, Staff Writer

Last Saturday, MSMS students were forced to find cover in the lower level of their residence hall after an EF3 tornado rushed through Columbus. Paired with the torrential rain that landed in the area, the weather events caused massive amounts of damage and flooding.

Unfortunately, one woman passed after a building collapsed, leaving three others injured.

When the sirens rang around 6:00 p.m., MSMS students rushed downstairs to huddle up in the dark while the tornado ripped through the area just two blocks from campus.

“The lights were out, and it was kind of cool,” said junior Jude Letonoff. “I wasn’t very scared; in fact, I was more upset that I had to go downstairs.”

Nevertheless, Letonoff found enjoyment in the situation. “After we were all clear, the lights were still off, so we just started playing hide and seek in the hallways. After we got tired of that, we just went in someone’s torch-lit room and listened to music.”

Following the tornado, there were numerous reports of downed trees, power lines and buildings. Additionally, areas such as the MSMS Blue Waves’ soccer fields and Riverwalk were completely submerged in rainwater.

According to Letonoff, the tornado damage was disheartening. “After you left the campus, you would see a tree through someone’s house. Especially Riverwalk. I have a lot of good memories there, and it was sad to see it completely unrecognizable,” Letonoff said.

Following the tornado, Letonoff saw the town help one another pick up the rubble from the storm. “Overall though, it was great to see Columbus come together, I love that it is such a tightly knit community.”

Other students, however, expressed more concern about the tornado, in particular the proximity of the tornado to campus. Senior Arin Kelly was at her home in Cleveland, Mississippi, while her peers were seeking shelter. “I was scared for all of my friends,” Kelly said. “I was watching the weather, but when I found out that a tornado had landed so close to campus, I starting to get really anxious.“Riding back into Columbus and seeing the devastation was so dispiriting. I have made so many memories in this city, and to see all of it in that state, it was just sad.”

Unlike Kelly, junior Anna Melton was inside of Goen during the storm. “The sirens woke me up, so I had to grab all my things and run downstairs,” said Melton. “I wasn’t too scared about the premise of a tornado, but there was a lot of lightning and rain.”

“It was sad to see all of the damage in a community that I have come to love,” Melton said. “But at the same time, it was bitter-sweet. I loved to see neighbor come out and help one another during this time. It was really amazing to watch.”

Some MSMS students, such as senior Jilkiah Bryant, have made efforts to help those affected by the storm.

“Although I wish the school would have let us take a day off and directly help those in need, I am glad there are students taking the initiative. Together, I feel like our community has grown stronger out of the rubble of this devastating storm.”