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Miss severe weather: waterspout capsized anchored boats; winds collapse tents at art festival

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BILOXI, Mississippi — A waterspout stranded more than a dozen people on Petit Bois Island, and thunderstorms slammed down tents at an art festival and canceled the annual re-enactment of explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville's landing in 1699 as thunderstorms swept along the Mississippi Coast.

The boaters were rescued and, though art was damaged at the ColOHR Fest in Biloxi, no serious injuries were reported from Saturday's storms.

Witnesses reported that a waterspout had capsized two anchored boats at Petit Bois, stranding the people who rode out in them, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell tells WLOX-TV (http://bit.ly/1HJiEnE). He said the Jackson County Marine Patrol rescued nine children and four adults, and the Coast Guard rescued four other people.

Artists at the festival in Biloxi said winds broke pottery and glass, and rain damaged paintings and frames.

"We were hunkered down inside the building, most of us, when the wind come through and the lightning. It took up most of the tents, and some of the tents collapsed into the other tents," said Dani Davis, a painter. She said most of her acrylics got wet, and frames were damaged by wind and water.

In Ocean Springs, the storm blew apart huts built to portray an Indian village where d'Iberville bought land rights from local Native Americans for a few shiny baubles, The Mississippi Press (http://bit.ly/1GvwS8q ) reported.

August Taconi of the host 1699 Historical Society said, "One hut lifted into the air and then just disintegrated, and the other just blew away. It turned out a real mess. We've just been down there cleaning up."

He said the other activities — pet parade, Mass, reception and 5K run — all went well. The landing reenactment was called off about 3 p.m.

"It was a good thing we did, because when it came, it really came. The beach is underwater," he said.

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