Difficult recovery underway after deadly Mississippi tornado


After a deadly tornado ripped through a long swath of Mississippi for more than an hour in a path of destruction, help began pouring into one of the poorest regions of the United States.

At least 26 people were killed and dozens injured as a massive storm hit more than half a dozen towns in Mississippi late Friday. A man also died in Alabama after his trailer flipped over several times.

“Everything I see is in some state of destruction,” said Jarrod Kunze, who drove from his home in Alabama to hard-hit Rolling Fork, Mississippi. In’ ready to help.

Kunze was one of the volunteers working on Sundays in a staging area ready to distribute bottled water and other supplies.

After hundreds of people were displaced from their homes, search and recovery crews resumed the arduous task of digging up crumbling homes, commercial buildings and city halls.

The storm struck so quickly that the Rolling Fork Sheriff’s Department had little time to sound a siren to alert the community of 2,000 residents, Mayor Eldridge Walker said.

“And by the time they started blaring the sirens, a storm hit and the sirens that were right there went out,” Walker said, referring to an area just a few blocks from downtown.

The mayor said his town was devastated.

“Sharkey County, Mississippi is one of the poorest counties in Mississippi, but it’s still resilient,” he said. “We’ve come a long way, but we really appreciate your prayers and what they do or can do for this community.”

President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Mississippi early Sunday morning, making federal funds available to the hardest-hit areas.

“Help is on the horizon,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said during a press conference with local, state and federal leaders.

Restoration work in Mississippi was underway even as the National Weather Service warned of new dangers. Sunday in more severe weather — Includes potential high winds, severe hail and tornadoes in Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

A tornado struck early Sunday morning in Troup County, Georgia, near the border with Alabama, according to the Georgia Mutual Aid Group. Affected areas included the county seat of Lagrange, about 67 miles (108 km) southwest of Atlanta.

About 100 buildings were damaged, at least 30 were uninhabitable and five people were slightly injured, authorities said. Debris blocked many roads, including Interstate 85.

At Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain, Georgia, two tigers briefly escaped their enclosure after a tornado devastated the park. “Both were found, tranquilized and safely returned to their safe enclosures,” the park said on Facebook. “No employees or animals were injured.”

Outside of Rolling Fork, a tornado tore apart the house Kimberly Berry lived on in the Delta Plains. Twister left behind only the foundation and a few belongings – a toppled refrigerator, a dresser and nightstand, a bag of Christmas decorations, and some clothing.

Berry said she and her 12-year-old daughter gathered inside a nearby church to pray while a storm roared outside.

“I heard nothing but myself praying and God answering my prayers, which means I can get another house, another furniture. But thank you for literally saving my life,” she said.

The White House said in a statement that following Biden’s proclamation, it would cover temporary housing, home repairs and uninsured property losses for recovery in Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe, and Sharkey counties in Mississippi. Federal funds, including loans and other programs for individuals and businesses, will be available, he said.

The Twister flattened entire blocks, demolished homes, ripped spires from churches, and knocked over the city’s water tower.

Based on early data, the tornado received a preliminary EF-4 rating, Jackson’s National Weather Service said in a tweet. EF-4 tornadoes have wind gusts of 166 mph to 200 mph (265 kph to 320 kph).

In “Rolling Fork,” a tornado turns a house into a pile of rubble and overturns a car.other part of deep south I was digging up from damage caused by another suspect Twister.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said 25 people were confirmed dead, 55 injured and 2,000 homes damaged or destroyed in Mississippi. High winds, hail and strong storms were expected in parts of Alabama and Georgia on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

The tornado that hit Rolling Fork tore about 59 miles (95 kilometers) across Mississippi for more than an hour, the National Weather Service said in a preliminary report Sunday. Preliminary estimates estimated the tornado to be three-quarters of a mile wide at some points.

Supercell, which created the deadly twister, also appears to have created a tornado that wreaked havoc in northwestern and north-central Alabama, said a severe storm forecaster at the Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Brian Squitieri said.

In Georgia, Rachel McMahon woke up on Sunday to hear from her father that the Troop County motel he was staying at had been destroyed. Said the free father took refuge in the bathtub.

He was very upset, but he was not hurt. Due to a fallen tree, she had to walk her last half mile to his motel.

“Thank you so much for keeping my father alive,” she wrote on Facebook, posting photos and videos of the damage. A house with a gaping hole in the roof, a giant tree trunk broken in half, power lines hanging in every direction.


Associated Press journalist Leah Willingham in Charleston, West Virginia. Jim Salter of O’Fallon, Missouri. Lee Skane of Baltimore. Jeff Martin of Woodstock, Georgia. Christopher Weber of Los Angeles and Nicole Winfield of Rome contributed to this report.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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