SMITHVILLE, MS (abc24.com) - It’s been six months since a deadly tornado outbreak swept across the Southeast. 232 tornadoes touched down on April 27th, carving out a damage path of 1,500 miles.
Three of those tornadoes were rated EF-5 with winds over 200 miles per hour. Smithville, Mississippi was one of the hardest hit places. An EF-5 twister killed 17 people, destroyed 100 homes, 15 businesses and four churches.
Smithville is located about 140 miles southeast of Memphis. The town was unrecognizable 6 months ago. Today, the rebuilding process continues.
Darwin Hathcock, Smithville Chief of Police, says, “I think the recovery is going well. Progress over the last few weeks has really picked up for us.”
Only five FEMA trailers remain in the town, serving as medical clinics and as city hall. Many people who were displaced from the storm have not returned to rebuild.
“It's changed the town a lot. It's changed the people’s attitude toward town,” says Hathcock. “I think in 10 years, we're going to see a town that in a lot of ways is better off. But I hope when we do look back, we don't forget the high price that was paid in lives, injuries and the emotional toll.”
April 2011 is ranked the most active tornado month in U.S. history with 753 tornadoes.