As a deadly storm descended on Mississippi Friday night, a local weatherman paused in his broadcast and offered up a prayer for the people lying in the tornado’s wake.
Chief Meteorologist for WTVA News, Matt Laubhan, was warning citizens of Amory that a tornado was spotted two miles from their town when a new alert came in, visibly upsetting the weatherman. “Oh man, northside of Amory this is coming in,” he exclaimed as the screen updated behind him. When the screen changed again moments later, an overwhelmed Laubhan braced himself on the desk for a moment before praying, “Dear Jesus, please help them.”
🚨#WATCH: As a meteorologist Live on air from WTVA overwhelmed as a major tornado hits Amory, Mississippi
📌#Amory | #Mississippi
⁰Heartbreaking video shows meteorologist Live on tv on WTVA overwhelmed as a major tornado hits the town of Amory after pic.twitter.com/ucaLXxSG8T…
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) March 25, 2023
The deadly tornado, which had already devastated the community of Rolling Fork nearly 200 miles away, ripped through the rest of the state and into Alabama during the March 24 storm. At least two deaths were reported in Monroe County where Amory is situated, WTVA reported.
As a nighttime storm it was “the worst of its kind,” University of Northern Illinois University meteorology professor Walker Ashley told WTVA. Ashley added that supercell storms, as this one was, produce the “deadliest” tornadoes and most damaging hail in the United States. (RELATED: Los Angeles Sees Strongest Tornado In 40 Years)
Photos showing the aftermath of the storm revealed downed trees and utility poles and the complete devastation of several buildings including a gas station.
Amory Mayor Corey Glenn warned residents to boil their water as the city’s water department took a “direct hit” from the tornado. Glenn also notified residents that two main thoroughfares into the town were closed and reminded residents to stay away from downed power lines.
“Your prayers at this time would be greatly appreciated,” he added.
At least 23 people were killed throughout the state of Mississippi in the storm with many more injured and some missing as search and rescue crews continue to shift through the devastation.