Sunday, March 16, 2008
The day we had to "duck" twice
On this day 66 years ago Baldwyn was struck not once, but twice by tornadoes during a 35-minute period. March 16, 1942 was a Monday, and the storms came in the late afternoon between 4 and 5 PM as I have read on the back of a photo.
A widespread outbreak of tornadoes had occurred across Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana. As many as 25 tornadoes of F2 intensity or greater were recorded. Seventy-five fatalities occurred in Mississippi.
The two tornadoes that hit the town (one category F4 and the other F3) were only 35 minutes apart. Not expecting anything such as that, the residents were caught off-guard. After the first strike, people went hunting for their family that had not been with them and were caught in cars and away from shelter when the second twister struck.
The photos above are:
Top: the Christian Church damage.
Left Top - Looking West on Thomas Street from then-US45 (now Fourth Street).
Left Center - Brownie Coggins' Service Station on then-US45.
Left lower - The school the next day - At the center of the photo is the boiler room and part of the chimney (looking NW).
Herb Spivey told me of his extraordinary experience in that storm. If you would, Herb, please write in the comments section of your scary and very lucky ordeal. I have forgotten some key points.
In the aftermath of the March 16, 1942 tornadoes the Caldwell Clinic was very busy with wounded and traumatic patients. That night, by candlelight, Lanny Outlaw was born. The doctors and nurses used all available lighting for treating patients for several days until power was restored.
Double-click on each photo or copy the photos and open in your viewer for better clarity.
Posted by Carl Houston at 5:30 AM