Devastating tornado kills at least 25 and injures scores in Mississippi


At least 12 of the deaths occurred in hard-hit Rolling Fork, a town of about 1,900 in western Mississippi. (Photo: Barbara Gauntt/USA Today Network via Reuters)

A strong storm that created at least one tornado has killed dozens of people in the US states of Mississippi and Alabama, ripping apart roofs, destroying automobiles, and levelling entire neighbourhoods.

Saturday, Mississippi's emergency management department reported 25 fatalities and dozens more injuries. Four said missing individuals "have been located," the article continued.

And in Alabama, a man died after becoming trapped when a trailer toppled due to the extreme weather, according to a tweet from the Morgan County sheriff's office.

According to Nicholas Price, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, Mississippi, the tornado stayed on the ground for nearly an hour and carved a damaged path 274 kilometres (170 miles) long across Mississippi on Friday night.

At least 12 fatalities happened in the western Mississippi community of Rolling Fork, a population of around 1,900. According to data from the United States Census, about one-fifth of the town's population lives below the federal poverty level.

Houses in Rolling Fork were left to rubble, tree limbs were broken like twigs, and automobiles were flung away as if they were toys. The water tower of the city was twisted on the ground.

"My city is gone, but we are resilient," Eldridge Walker, the city's mayor, told CNN earlier that day. "We are going to make a big comeback."

Michael Searcy, a storm chaser who noticed the tornado approaching Rolling Fork, spent hours assisting with rescuing those stranded.

"As soon as we moved from one car to another or from one building to another, we could hear screams and cries for help," he told the news agency Reuters.

And we were sifting through the wreckage in small groups, attempting to locate and rescue individuals.

Searcy said that members of one family narrowly escaped by taking refuge in a bathroom as the rest of their home crumbled around them, and a van was deposited on top of the residence by severe winds.

Residents of Silver City, a 300-person rural village nearby, recalled locking themselves in rooms and hiding in bathtubs as the tornado roared through.

On his Saturday visit to Silver City, Governor Tate Reeves he announced a state of emergency in the affected areas.

"The magnitude of the devastation and loss is apparent everywhere affected today," he tweeted. "Homes, businesses…entire towns."

US President Joe Biden referred to the photos from Mississippi as "heartbreaking" and stated that he had spoken with Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and extended his condolences and full federal support for the recovery.

Biden stated, "We will do everything we can to assist individuals affected by these tragic storms, as well as the first responders and emergency professionals working to assist their fellow Americans."

"We will remain as long as necessary. Together, we will provide the assistance you need to heal."

Officials in Mississippi established three emergency shelters, including one at the Rolling Fork National Guard Armory. According to the White House, Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Deanne Criswell will fly to Mississippi on Sunday.

The Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Service reported that Mississippi and Alabama might experience destructive winds, hail, and possibly tornadoes on Sunday.

As of Saturday evening, over 26,000 customers in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee remained without power due to the storm, according to the website

From western Mississippi into Alabama, storm chasers and observers reported at least 24 tornadoes to the National Weather Service between Friday night and Saturday morning.

Publish : 2023-03-26 11:01:00

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