Mississippi College

Sudden Hailstorm Pelts Mississippi College Vehicles and Buildings

March 19, 2013

A sudden hailstorm at Mississippi College on Monday afternoon damaged at least 65 vehicles and shattered dozens of windows in several buildings, new reports show.

After baseball-sized hail pelted the Clinton campus along with thunderstorms for about ten minutes, MC Department of Public Safety Director Stephen McCraney said officials Tuesday were continuing to assess the damage.

“It just came in so quickly,” MC junior Veronica Gibson, 20, of Vicksburg told The Clarion-Ledger after pieces of hail blew out the back window of her car parked near her dormitory. “A few of my friends’ cars got their windshields busted, too.”

As classmates stopped by to console her, Gibson said there was still luggage in her car after returning to the university following Spring Break. Her roommate’s car was among those damaged.

MC student Camea Dobbs of Brandon was driving on campus when the heavy pieces of hail began to pummel her car. Camea quickly parked outside Nelson Hall and looked frightened as she dashed to safety inside the administration building. A chunk of ice left a large hole in her front windshield near her steering wheel.

There were no serious injuries reported, but lots of scary moments as the skies turned black late Monday afternoon around 4 p.m.

“I was at my house in Clinton, but by the time I heard the baseball hail falling, it was too late,” said Derek Walker, 23, an MFA graduate student. “My windshield was busted. There were lots of pings and dents.”

Many of the cars and trucks were taken to Mississippi College’s new three-story parking garage to protect the vehicles from further damage. A few minutes after the showers stopped, it turned sunny again.

MC physical plant employees and campus police stayed busy as they duck-taped plastic bags on many of the vehicles belonging to students. Some of the workers stayed on the job into the evening hours to take care of things.

A few MC students were spotted picking up hefty chunks of ice on the Quad with some as big as tennis balls and others as small as golf balls.

Bobby Guillory, a worker with the Facility and Plant Management Department, had a busy day. During a one-hour period, he duck-taped plastic bags to eight vehicles on the Clinton campus before heading home around 6 p.m.

“This was the worst I’ve seen it,” Walker said. The Art Department graduate student plans to take his damaged car to a local body shop for repairs this week, but most likely will have to wait.

The storm resulted in Lovett Elementary in Clinton being closed for the day as school employees repaired damage to its roof. Calls to several insurance agents in Hinds County were answered with busy signals and voicemails within an hour of the storm, the Clarion-Ledger reported. Some residents said rental cars in the area today are all booked up due to the March 18 storm.

Photo: MC student Veronica Gibson of Vicksburg shows the damage to her car in the parking lot near her dormitory as classmates stop by to console her.

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