Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes leave lasting damages in Mississippi
Storms moved through the Southeast Tuesday bringing rain, and thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service, 40 severe wind alerts, 33 severe weather alerts and 29 tornadoes.
At least two people were killed by a tornado in Alabama and while no deaths were reported in Mississippi tornadoes destroyed homes and structures throughout the state and a fire station in Lowndes County.
Stephanie King of Starkville said both her house and her parent’s house next door were hit by a suspected tornado that caused extensive roof damage.
“We have water damage in portions of our ceilings and on the floor,” King said. “Our outside camper was flipped upside down along with our shed and lawn furniture that was lifted from the ground. Thankfully my parent was away during the storm as a tree fell on their house.”
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King said she was heartbroken about the loss of a pecan tree that provided shade and memories over the years.
“The 100-year-old pecan tree falling on their house caused substantial roof and water damage,” King said. “Our family has been comforted by the shade of that tree for decades, from swinging to family meals.”
Jonathan Lanthrip of Mathiston a 20-year volunteer firefighter said he was out helping the Sherwood community when he got a call that trees were down close to his house.
“A section of our roof had been pulled off and now sits in the backyard,” Lanthrip said. “I convinced my wife and three foster children to go to the firehouse for safety while I continued to help the community. The only word I can say for the situation is gratitude.”
Lanthrip said most roadways are currently clear but some are not.
“I believe the storm brought us together,” Lanthrip said. “I found out I had friends that I didn’t know about. Truly I am thankful for my neighbors that started making calls and gathering material.”
While many Mississippians were recovering from the storms, Gov. Tate Reeves on Wednesday offered a thank you via Twitter to first responders who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others.
“Thank you to those across the nation who prayed for our state,” Reeves said. “Thank you to our first responders for doing what you always do, putting yourselves in harm’s way to keep others safe. Initial reports indicated trees down, housing damage, a road washout, and a fire department destroyed in Northeast/East Mississippi.
“…I thank God that we have not received, as of now, any report of lives lost. The state will continue to work with our local emergency manager to assess damage and ensure Mississippians have the resources they need to recover.”
According to its website, the National Weather Service in Jackson is investigating suspected tornadic activity reported Tuesday in the following locations:
- N. Lowndes County where damage to multiple structures, including a fire station were reported;
- SW Lowndes County between Crawford and Artesia;
- Choctaw and Winston county border in the McMillan/High Point area;
- Jasper County, where downed trees, power lines and damage was reported to multiple structures;
- SE Lawrence County near Tilton where debris and possible structural damage was reported;
- S. Jefferson Davis County near Bassfield where trees, power poles and a mobile home were damaged and a possible tornado were reported;
- Simpson/Jefferson Davis County line near Magee to Raleigh, where trees and structural damage were reported; other
- S. Marion County where a possible tornado was reported.
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“The storms also left thousands of residents without power, approximately 11,536 in Alabama, 1,038 in Mississippi and more than 10,000 in Georgia,” according to PowerOutage.us.
School districts, colleges, universities, businesses and afternoon activities were canceled and closed early Tuesday afternoon in preparation for severe storms and possible tornadoes that moved through central Mississippi.
Despite the inclement weather, no injuries or structural damages were reported in the Jackson metro area, but two Alabama residents lost their lives to the storm.
Christina Thornton, director of the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency, said in an interview with Fox Weather that two deaths were reported after a tornado erupted in Montgomery County, Alabama.
“We do not have an exact number and I do not want to give incorrect information, but there are minor, moderate, and obviously, the two fatalities that we have suffered for our community at this point in time,” Thorton said. “So, that’s where we are right now. We’re just trying to get the information. They’re still doing search and rescue efforts if they’re able to get to homes due to the trees being down in the roadways.”
Montgomery officials said the victims, a 39-year-old woman, and an 8-year-old boy, were a mother and a son.
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The fatalities were confirmed by MCEMA in the area along Lower Wetumpka Road.
As a result of the storm, Choctaw County, Lowndes, Jasper, Lawrence, Jefferson Davis, Simpson and Marion experienced structural and tree damage that could be linked to tornadoes, NWS reports.
If your house was damaged as a result of the storm, please report it to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency here: MEMA Citizen Self-Reporting Links by County – MEMA (msema.org)