At least 23 killed as powerful tornado tears through Mississippi

A deadly tornado ripped through rural Mississippi on Friday night, killing at least 23 people and injuring dozens, flattening homes and sending emergency services to rescue people trapped in the wreckage.

In addition to the 23 dead, dozens of people were injured and at least four people were missing, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

“We have numerous local and state search and rescue teams that continue to work this morning,” the agency said in a statement. Upgrade Posted on Twitter. “Unfortunately, these numbers are expected to change,” the company added.

As dawn broke, emergency workers began surveying the damage. Fewer than 100,000 electric customers in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee were still without power early Saturday, according to the monitoring site, and some of the worst-hit counties were almost completely evacuated. power cut. us.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves asked for prayers noting the death toll.

“The loss will be felt forever in these cities,” he wrote on Twitter.

Three of the dead were Miss. They were from Carroll County, said Mark Stiles, the local coroner.

“We are still doing search and rescue. We are trying to cut trees to get to where people live,” said Mr. Stiles said.

The center of destruction appeared to be about 60 miles away in the town of Rolling Fork in Sharkey County, Miss. The tornado blew out windows and damaged homes and trees, the city’s former mayor, Fred Miller, said Friday.

“Much of the town has been destroyed,” including all the businesses along the local road’s commercial and retail trade, Mr. Miller said. In an interview on Fox Weather.

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Aaron Rigsby, a videographer and storm chaser Filmed the hurricaneIn an interview he said he saw it evolve from a “tiny cone” to a “massive wedge”.

After the tornado hit Rolling Fork, Mr. Rigsby said he went door-to-door through the city, rescuing people trapped in their vehicles or destroyed homes, including a woman buried by rubble.

“The city took a direct hit,” he said, adding that it took at least 30 minutes for ambulances to arrive in Rolling Fork because the area is so rural.

Rolling Fork is a Mississippi Delta city of about 2,000 residents in Sharkey County. It is the birthplace of blues singer Muddy Waters and lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers. Residents of the Yazoo live with the risk of flooding if levees along the Yazoo break.

According to the Federal Census Bureau’s 2021 census, about 30 percent of the residences in Sharkey County are mobile homes or dwellings other than houses or apartments. About one-fifth of Rolling Fork residents, mostly black, live below the federal poverty line.

Several power outages in Mississippi early Saturday morning were in Sharkey and Montgomery counties. An officer who answered the phone at the Sharkey County Sheriff’s Office in Rolling Fork said the power was out at the building.

In addition to Rolling Fork, the National Weather Service office in Jackson, Silver City, Miss. Cyclone also caused damage. He said on Twitter.

The weather service has rarely published Cyclone Emergencies Friday night marked life-threatening conditions for parts of the state, with tornado warnings later expiring for parts of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. of the agency forecast Rain was called for in all three states on Saturday, and there was only a slight risk of tornadoes.

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Malarie White, chief communications officer for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said Friday night that state search and rescue resources were being sent to Sharkey County. He said the agency was assessing the needs of people affected by the cyclone and would begin surveying the damage during the day, adding that the Central Emergency Management Agency had been alerted.

Severe weather in the south peaks in March, April and May. Meteorologists said. Earlier this month, a powerful storm swept across the South, killing at least 12 people and leaving hundreds of thousands of customers without power. Heavy rains, strong winds and tornadoes damaged homes in at least eight states.

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