A devastating round of severe weather that started yesterday evening and continued into the overnight hours flattened homes, decimated towns, left more than two dozen people dead and injured dozens more from Mississippi to Alabama.
Preliminary information from the National Weather Service office in Jackson, MS says one tornado started about 20 miles southwest of Rolling Fork, MS. After hitting Rolling Fork the tornado continued its path of destruction northeast toward the rural communities of Midnight and Silver City. Tchula, Black Hawk and Winona would eventually find themselves in the storm’s path. The NWS says storm reports and radar data suggest the tornado was on the ground for more than an hour and traveled at least 170 miles.
National Weather Service-JacksonMS UPDATE:
The Rolling Fork/Silver City tornado has received a preliminary EF-4 rating.
Some additional preliminary stats from the Rolling Fork/Silver City tornado –
Path length: Approximately 59 miles beginning in northern Issaquena Co and ending in northern Holmes Co Duration: 1 hour, 10 minutes (7:57 PM – 9:08 PM)
Maximum path width: 3/4 mile
Sharkey County Coroner Angelia Eason said there were at least 13 deaths in the town of Rolling Fork.
The NWS Storm Prediction Center says there were 24 tornado reports and more than 100 wind reports, many of which caused damage. The southeast part of the U.S. is no stranger to severe weather and even tornadoes this time of year, but Lance Perrilloux, a meteorologist with the NWS in Jackson says, “That’s rare, very, very rare,” to see a long path tornado like this early in spring, but he adds, “All the ingredients were there.”
Twenty-five of the 26 who died were in Mississippi, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. In announcing the higher death toll Saturday afternoon, MEMA said four people who were missing had been accounted for. Dozens more people were injured.