Stunned twister survivors pick up pieces

The National Weather Service says it was a strong F2 tornado that left Jones County residents in shock Wednesday morning. Cleanup has already started.

Many Tuckers Crossing residents woke up to a scene of unbelievable destruction. They were in shock, their lives literally turned upside down.

"I knew that bad weather was coming but I never dreamed this," says Ed Ingram.

A lifelong resident of the area, Ingram says he's glad to be alive after losing two vehicles and watching his childhood home lifted off its foundation.

"My dad built that himself back in the early 50s," he says. "That's where I was raised and lived all my life until I got grown. I just hate to see it worse than anything, you just can't replace the memories out of it.

Ingram and many others have started clearing downed trees and picking up debris, while power companies continued to replace transmitters and restore lines.

But officials say help to residents in this community is being hindered by sightseers clogging the roads. They're urging folks to keep away for now.

400-yard-wide F3 clobbered Lamar

Officials say it was an F3 tornado that struck northwest Lamar County Wednesday morning.

The tornado, estimated at 400 yards wide, cut a swath five miles long, inflicting major damage on 18 homes, and minor damage on six.

Some families that lost their homes came to a shelter in Sumrall Thursday to get help with clothing and housing. Lamar County Emergency Management Director James Smith says MEMA, the state disaster agency, will be offering temporary housing assistance.

Smith says officials are seeking further help from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and they're also investigating the possibility of using the FEMA trailers stored in Purvis for Katrina victims.