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Weatherman Breaks Down, Starts Praying on Air as Tornado Barrels Toward Town

As deadly tornadoes were preparing to bring black winds to northeastern Mississippi Friday, one meteorologist knew only one thing could save those in the way.

“Dear Jesus, please help them,” meteorologist Matt Laubhan of WTVA-TV said as he saw a tornado bearing down with seconds to go before it would hit Amory, Mississippi.

According to NBC, the tornadoes that crashed through the state left at least 23 people dead.

Amory was hit hard, according to the Monroe Journal, but as of Saturday morning, there were no reports of deaths.

The fate of the town was in doubt as Laubhan was looking at the radar and issuing warnings.

“Assuming we’re moving 65 miles per hour I would say the western few streets in Amory are now less than two minutes away. This is a strong, life-threatening tornado that’s going to move either extremely close to Amory or in through the northern part of the city of Amory,” he said.

“Here’s the thing about this, y’all trust me too much, OK? I tell you where it goes and some of you are like ‘that’s where it’s going to go,’ but the reality is this could be changing directions, OK? So Amory, we need to be in our tornado safe place,” he said.

Then the latest scans emerged.

“We got a new scan coming in now here as we speak,” Laubhan said. He was visibly shaken by the image that popped up on his screen. “Oh, man,” he groaned. “North side of Amory, this is coming in. Oh, man…”

Then he said a quick prayer: “Dear Jesus, please help them … amen,” he said, resuming the live broadcast.

“So, it’s going to track along Highway 25, unfortunately, this is cut farther a little bit more east,” he said, adding, “This is going to cross the Highway 6 bridge within the next 20 seconds or so.”

On Saturday, Amory Mayor Corey Glenn said he was not aware of deaths or serious injuries, adding that advance warning helped save lives, according to the Monroe Journal.

“Obviously, we got hit real hard. We did have an advance warning there. We’d had a little bit of heads up knowing that we were about to get hit. I don’t know exactly the lead time that we had, but we did have a fair amount of time to understand and prepare for it,” he said.

Glenn said the damage was “catastrophic.”

“Right now, we’re just making sure that we don’t have any casualties or anybody that’s still trapped inside of a home. So that’s kind of where we see it right now,” he said.

In the western part of the state, the town of Rolling Fork was clobbered, according to NBC.

“It appears from the damage that I’ve been able to assess at this point it was a large tornado — and it has destroyed the city of Rolling Fork,” Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker said, according to NBC. At least 13 people were reported dead in the town.

“The damage is tremendous. It’s awful,” Sharkey County Coroner Angelia Eason told the network.

  • Nancy says:

    I hope to God that nothing happens to this meteorologist for praying to God for all the people in the path of this deadly tornado. I commend Matt Laubhan for having the courage to say it.

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