Up to 75 tornadoes tore into the South on Jan. 21 through Jan. 23, killing at least 21 people across eight states.
According to The Weather Channel the storms made their way from Texas to North Carolina, the second highest total number of tornadoes in January that has been recorded—right behind the 129 tornadoes in January of 1999.
Early on Jan. 21, a EF3 tornado ransacked Hattiesburg, Mississippi, killing four people and damaging many buildings.
“There was quite extensive damage to Hattiesburg and cities around us,” Harding alumni Jonathan Andrew said. “We went to see some of the aftermath, and it was shocking. An entire shopping center was destroyed. We saw entire trees fallen onto houses. It was heartbreaking.”
According to The Weather Channel, at least 39 tornadoes were confirmed in Georgia killing 12. Many students at Harding University were able to survey the damage in their hometowns by keeping in touch with their families.
Junior Kelsea Hall, a student from Lumberton, Texas, received a text from her mother on Jan. 21 alerting her of a tornado watch in her hometown.
“My mom said it was raining a lot and thundering,” Hall said. “And they even got some hail.”
The worst damage in Lumberton was caused by hail and broken tree limbs. “When it was done, I was glad it was over,” Hall said.
While this was a hard time for many people, others were able to help and reach out to those that were affected.
“It was beautiful to see the way the people came together to help those who lost everything,” Andrew said.
Many organizations, like The American Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse, are also trying to help by accepting donations to aid Georgia, Mississippi and other states that were hit by the storms.
The other states affected by the tornadoes include Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Arkansas and Florida.