HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WPMI) The National Weather Service has confirmed now it was an EF4 tornado that hit Hattiesburg, Mississippi Sunday.
The massive twister was caught on tape passing through the heart of the city by storm chasers. The tornado caused major damage. A state of emergency was still in place as of 6:30 p.m. Monday.
"Total devastation. It's unbelievable. I was in the house, I went into my little survival mode, bathtub you know, and it just hit so quick. It was like 60 seconds," said Hattiesburg resident, Marvin Robinson.
Just seconds and the powerful storm left major damage behind in its 75 mile path through southern Mississippi. Hattiesburg was hit the hardest.
Officials say this tornado caught on tape tore apart parts of the city as well as parts of the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
"I was here when Katrina hit and I can't believe! Katrina did some serious damage but this here, it's right up there with it," said Marving Robinson.
There were no fatalities, but at least 63 people were hurt, three critically. Mississippi governor Phil Bryant said residents were warned of the approaching tornado up to 30 minutes in advance and that helped save lives.
"Unfortunately the state of Mississippi, particularly south Mississippi has more experience and is better qualified to respond to weather related emergencies than anyone in the nation. after Katrina we became experts," said Governor Bryant.
Officials say issues like downed power lines and localize flooding are still a serious threat. About 55 employees with Alabama Power left for Hattiesburg Monday morning to help restore power.
Initially more than 13,000 homes lost power.