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Mississippi deals with the aftermath of the deadly EF-4 tornado as more than 20 million people in the south are threatened by severe storms on Sunday


As Mississippi picks up the pieces after killer storms that spawned tornadoes, more than 20 million people are at risk of severe storms across much of the South and parts of the Midwest on Sunday.

Multiple rounds of storms are possible throughout the day, with parts of Alabama and Georgia expecting morning storms that threaten to bring large hail. Parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana also face an increased risk of severe storms.

Already, residents of the southeast are reeling from powerful storms and tornadoes that slammed into the region on Friday night, killing at least 26 people and injuring dozens more. The storms nearly leveled some neighborhoods and knocked out power for thousands of people, officials said.

At least 10 tornadoes have been confirmed to have struck Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, according to several National Weather Service desks.

President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for counties in Mississippi early Sunday morning, ordering federal assistance to aid recovery efforts in areas affected by severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes that swept through the ‘State.

“Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects. of the disaster,” said a statement from the White House.

Meanwhile, additional storms – capable of producing very large hail, tornadoes and high winds – are expected to form in parts of eastern Texas on Sunday afternoon, then likely to move into Louisiana, Mississippi and possibly in Alabama, in the afternoon and evening.

A level 3 out of 5 risk for severe storms was issued by the Storm Prediction Center in parts of eastern Louisiana, south-central Mississippi and south-central Alabama. The endangered area includes Jackson, Hattiesburg and Meridian in Mississippi, as well as Montgomery and Prattville in Alabama.

“Large to very large hail is expected to be the primary threat along with all supercells,” the Storm Prediction Center said. “Damaging winds and a few tornadoes also appear possible.”

Storms will then push east into the Carolinas by Sunday afternoon, posing a threat of damaging winds. A marginal risk of severe storms also includes parts of central Illinois and Indiana.

An aerial view of the town of Rolling Fork on Saturday.

“Lord, I don’t want to die,” Rolling Folk, Mississippi resident Shanta Howard thought as a tornado ripped through her town, she reminded CNN affiliate WAPT. .

THE EF-4 tornado at night flattened much of the Rolling Fork community, which saw peak winds estimated at 170 miles per hour, NWS meteorologist Bill Parker told CNN’s Jim Acosta.

EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes are considered “violent” and extremely rare, and account for only about 1% of all tornadoes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The last EF-4 tornado to hit Mississippi was on April 19, 2020.

When the sun rose on Saturday, drone footage showed houses completely razed to the ground and reduced to piles of wood, vehicles rocking and trees splintered.

Mayor Eldridge Walker of Rolling Fork – a town of less than 2,000 people – says his “town is gone”.

“The police department is destroyed. The town hall is destroyed. The county courthouse is damaged. The firefighters are devastated. There is no functioning grocery store in the community,” U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson told CNN.

Resident Noel Crook walks through his home Saturday, March 25, 2023, while surveying the damage in Silver City, Mississippi, after Friday's deadly tornado.

As search and rescue efforts continued, the community’s only hospital was offline on Saturday and injured people were being transported to the nearest hospital more than 80 km away, Thompson said.

“We found multiple victims,” Sharkey County Supervisor Jessie Mason said. “It’s just an ongoing process and it’s going to be a long way to go.”

Rolling Fork Deputy Mayor LaDonna Sias described the terrifying moments as residents of the small town hid from the destructive tornado, taking refuge in closets, bathtubs and under pillows as the storm roared outside. outside.

“It seemed like forever until that noise stopped,” Sias recalled, describing going outside to see destroyed houses and hear people screaming. Sias’ house was destroyed in the tornado.

“It was just totally devastating,” she said. “Even if we lost everything, this material can be replaced. Material things can be replaced, but losing a loved one was just heartbreaking,” Sias said.

A tornado ripped through central Mississippi Friday night.

Another report of a tornado – which passed through Blackhawk in Carroll County and Winona in Montgomery County, Mississippi, on Saturday night – received a preliminary classification EF-3according to the National Weather Service in Jackson.

In Carroll County, three people died in a home, coroner Mark Stiles told CNN, adding that it appears they were killed in a tornado.

Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told CNN the agency sent a team to the state to address immediate needs and plan for a long-term recovery.

“We want to make sure the state has everything it needs as we work to make sure no more lives are lost,” Criswell said.

Following Biden’s endorsement, federal funding will now be available for those affected in Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe and Sharkey counties, according to a White House statement.

The storm system also affected northern Alabama and south-central Tennessee as Friday night gives way to Saturday.

A Morgan County, Alabama man was killed after being trapped in his mobile home, according to Morgan County Emergency Management Director Brandy Davis.

At least three tornadoes have occurred in northern Alabama, according to the Huntsville Office of the National Weather Service. An EF-2 tornado also touched down near Fayetteville, Tennessee, just north of the Tennessee-Alabama border. Additional storm records will be taken over the next few days.

How to Give or Receive Help After the Mississippi Tornado


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