Storm leaves broken RVs and broken lives behind - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Storm leaves broken RVs and broken lives behind

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GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) -

In a matter of minutes, dozens of people had their lives literally turned upside down when a violent storm ripped through the Santa Maria RV park in Gautier Monday night. Tuesday morning, they got their first daylight look at what remains of their homes and belongings.

Harold Robbins was one of more than 25 campers whose RV was tossed around like a tinker toy.

"We were thrown around the camper. She's got staples and stitches in her head and my knees and elbows and back is banged up a little bit, but we're alive. We're okay. We got our little dogs out and this is temporary," Robbins said.

Cherie Quinn recalled the harrowing moments.

"It tilted and we thought it was going to come back down and it didn't. And then it came down a little bit and then it just rolled and everything just came tumbling on top of us," Quinn explained.

Mike McLaughlin is a disaster logistics expert who came to help.

"Well, right now the most important thing is their mental health, and they are assessing the damages they have and just try to keep them calm and realize that everything will be okay. It's just stuff," McLaughlin said.

All of the people who live in this campground and felt the full wrath of Mother Nature's fury recall one similar thing about this violent storm - it happened with little notice.

"You didn't have time to get terrified, until you crawled out and then your knees start shaking. You didn't have time for anything," Lee Wibstad said. "It was just, all of a sudden she just started turning over and that's where she stopped."

"It just happened real quick. There was really no warning," Tim Green said. "I thought the wind was blowing pretty hard and then all of a sudden, just over it went. There was nothing you could do about it."

Some, like Scott Sullivan, knew something was wrong, and literally dodged a weather bullet just seconds before his trailer flipped over.

"I peeked my head out of the door again and at that time, I decided it was time to get out of my trailer, and I immediately left for my truck and, of course, started to drive out of the park and was dodging debris," Sullivan recalled.

It's debris that will take a long time to clean up. What will take even longer is erasing the memories of this violent storm.

Incredibly, officials say only two people were hospitalized with injuries. Several others were treated for cuts, scrapes and bruises, but did not have to be admitted to the hospital.

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