The William Carey University campus is closed after a tornado touched down early Saturday morning, leaving much of the campus destroyed.
University officials say students are now being escorted from campus, advising that parents may now pick up students from the school in the Penton Street parking lot.
Campus is closed until further notice. Students are being escorted from campus. Arrangements will be made for students who cannot go home.— William Carey Univ. (@WmCareyU) January 21, 2017
The tornado ripped through parts of Hattiesburg and Petal around 4 a.m., killing at least three people in the area and leaving much devastation behind.
According to the university, multiple buildings -- including the dorms, Tatum Court, and Thomas Hall -- received heavy damage. Power lines are also reported to be down at the school's Hwy. 49 entrance.
William Carey University was also hit hard by the overnight tornado. Dorms as well as classrooms have been destroyed. Students are now safe. pic.twitter.com/lGJZIvdxcc— Victor Williams (@VictorWLOX) January 21, 2017
Mia Overton, William Carey's public relations coordinator, says the safety of the students is the number one priority at this time.
"There are some minor injuries," Overton told our sister station WDAM. "Officials are working to ensure students are safe and accounted for. There is damage to most buildings on campus including cars and a home across campus is damaged."
Officials say all of William Carey's dorm rooms and the apartments on Tuscan Avenue have been checked and cleared.
The Hattiesburg campus will remain closed until further notice but campus officials say the Tradition campus is still open and will operate on its regular schedule.
WLOX News Now has reporters on the ground in Hattiesburg today and will have more in-depth coverage in our evening shows at 6 and 10 p.m.
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