MCNEILL, Miss. -- South Mississippi saw some of the worst weather on Christmas Day. In Pearl River County a tornado touched down and destroyed several homes.

Authorities say 12 houses were completely wiped out by this Christmas Day tornado. The damage trail extends half a mile.

On one property off Hwy. 11, the front and back of a custom antebellum home are gone. But the homeowner says lives are more important.

Kind of bad, but everybody's safe, and hey, the Lord is on our side. We're good to go, said homeowner Ted Williams. My wife and my daughter in law and two of my grandkids were there, and my son and Iwere 100 yards on the other side.

Williams said he saw the tornado as it destroyed his home.

We just hid our heads and hoped for the best, but everybody's good, Williams said.

Eight people were taken to the hospital overall and assessments are expected to continue through the night, when families should be together.

You have to deal with these things when they come, said Danny Manley, director of the Pearl River County emergency operations center.

The estimates are that this tornado spread a mile wide, but those details won't be finalized until Wednesday morning.

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