SMITHVILLE, Miss. (AP, abc24.com) - With the anniversary approaching of last year's devastating April tornadoes in Mississippi, Smithville is slowly recovering. But the pain lingers from losing 16 people in a town of about 900.
Survivors cling to mementos the winds left behind, like a letter found in the debris and addressed to Savannah Brown, then 12 years old. It was from her grandmother, Ruth Estis, who died in the storm.
Savannah says it was like a gift from heaven.
The storms that raked the South last April 27 produced 67 tornados in Mississippi and killed 37 people in all.
Smithville recovery manager Michelle Bond says the town is better but there's a long way to go. The twister destroyed the police department, the school, four churches and dozens of homes.