MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - University of Southern Mississippi student Hayley Howard is still coming to grips with the reality a tornado hit her college campus.
Howard grew up in Mobile and was home for the Mardi Gras holiday when she got an e-mail from the university Sunday evening notifying students parts of the campus were damaged from Sunday's storm.
"That's when it hit home the campus was hit. How bad is it? Is everyone ok? I spent the next bit of time trying to get in contact people and find pictures of what happened," Howard said. "It was a real shock. I'm pretty sure I looked at the same pictures for hours, the same videos of the tornado coming down Hardy Street and just wiping across campus it was a complete shock."
Howard said the fine arts building where she spends countless hours drafting drawings and working on projects was damaged. One of her graphic design pieces recently displayed within the building is now gone, along with much of the building.
"The project really becomes part of you over the process of working on it. And to find out it's gone. It's destroyed, is another shock another hit to the heart," Howard said. "Getting things on the wall or displayed in the art department is a huge goal to the students because it's displayed. It's good enough to be displayed and now all that artwork is gone. It's really hard."
Howard said it's difficult for her to fathom a tornado has struck the City of Mobile and Hattiesburg in less than two months.
"I remember seeing the videos of the tornados on Christmas day and finding out my grandmother had a brick go through her window at the infirmary was just really hard. People coming that close to losing everything and some people did," said Howard.
Howard said she's staying in touch with friends who are still at school. Many of them she said don't have power but she is glad they're safe.
The university said campus will remain closed Tuesday and classes are scheduled to resume Thursday.
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