Violent storms and a tornado killed at least 23 people in southern Mississippi and left a trail of destruction in their wake. Dozens of people were injured, local civil defense said early Saturday morning (local time). “Unfortunately, these numbers are subject to change,” the company continued. Thousands of people were left without electricity in the southern state.
At least one tornado touched down across the state, the National Weather Service confirmed. It caused damage in the towns of Silver City and Rolling Fork, the authority wrote. According to the media, he left a path of destruction about 130 kilometers long. There were also reports of other tornadoes in the US media, some of them from the neighboring state of Alabama.
According to media reports, storms in the state blew off roofs of houses, uprooted trees, damaged power lines and almost leveled parts of the city. About 100,000 customers were without power early Saturday morning in Mississippi and neighboring states of Tennessee and Alabama, according to the website poweroutage.us. Television footage showed many homes destroyed. There is no information on the ages of the victims. Rescue and recovery personnel are on the job, Civil Defense said.
Citizens take shelter from the tornado in a bathtub
“My city is gone. But we’re going to be determined, we’re going to come back,” Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker said on American television. Looking from right to left he sees utter destruction. When the storm warning came, he and his wife took cover, the mayor said. They stay in the bathtub of the house to protect themselves. A city resident told CNN that there was severe destruction. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Brandy Showa. “It was a great little town — now it’s gone.”
Mississippi is considered the poorest state in the United States. Rolling Fork is home to approximately 2000 people, many living in converted caravans. According to the New York Times, the small town with a majority black population is below the nation’s poverty line. Local media reported that a crisis center had been set up in the city. Beds, water, sanitation facilities and medical aid are available.
Officials have warned that a series of cyclones will hit the region on Friday evening (local time). Mississippi’s weather service has warned of more showers and thunderstorms through the weekend. Expect golf ball sized winds and hail. More tornadoes are also possible.
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