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Biden Orders Emergency Aid as Crews Race to Clear Storm Damage

by Lucas Garcia
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President Joe Biden has declared an emergency for parts of Mississippi that were hit the hardest by a destructive tornado this past Friday. The tornado affected Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe and Sharkey counties- all areas located in the Mississippi Delta (which is one of the poorest regions in America). Federal funding is now made available to help these 4 counties through this difficult time.

At least 25 people were killed and many more were hurt in Mississippi when a huge storm moved through some cities for about an hour. Additionally, one man died after his trailer rolled several times in Alabama.

On Sunday, rescuers worked hard to clean up all the destroyed homes, companies, and governmental buildings after so many had to leave their houses.

The Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Deanne Criswell, is about to go to the state on Sunday to look at the damage. John Boyle has been chosen as FEMA’s Coordinating Officer–he’ll be managing federal rebuilding initiatives. When President Biden declared it, the White House reported that people can apply for federal funding to pay for various things like temporary shelter, house repairs, repayments for uninsured property losses and assistance programs available to individuals and businesses.

Yesterday, a tornado destroyed several neighborhoods, including homes, a church, and a water tower. Unfortunately, the National Weather Service says that today could be even worse with lots of wind, giant hail and maybe more tornadoes in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

At first, some initial information suggested that the tornado was an EF-4. An EF-4 tornado has extremely strong and dangerous winds between 166 mph and 200 mph. However, the weather service in Jackson is still looking into it so they can know more about this tornado.

On Friday night, a tornado hit Rolling Fork town, destroying many homes and cars. Suddenly everything was in piles of rubble, including the water tower that had been standing there until then. In addition to this disaster, other areas in the South were also damaged by other similar storms. Sadly, one person died in Morgan County due to all these events.

Rodney Porter, who lives nearby Rolling Fork, wondered how anyone could have survived the storm last Friday night. He drove there to help out and saw complete destruction. As he looked around in the dark, he smelled gas and heard people screaming for help. He also noticed that some of the houses had been smashed into piles with vehicles on top of them.

Annette Body drove from Belozi to Silver City, where a lot of damage had been done. Despite her being lucky enough that her house was not destroyed, she still felt very sad because she knew many other people lost their homes. She said, “I’ve been crying all morning looking at the flattened homes around here. A lot of people didn’t even get the chance to run away when it happened so quickly.”

On Saturday, many people were walking around, still stunned from their experiences during the storm. They were using chain saws to cut through piles of rubble and toppled trees that blocked their way. Some of the power lines had been squashed under huge oak trees that seemed as if they had been pulled right out of the ground.

Mississippi’s Governor Tate Reeves declared an emergency, and promised to give aid to the region that was hit by awful destruction of its many cotton, corn and soybean fields as well as fish ponds. He also had a discussion with President Biden on this and the state’s representatives.

To help those who cannot stay in their homes anymore, more than 6 shelters were set up in Mississippi.

Estimates from storm reports and radar data show that the tornado stayed on the ground for over an hour and covered a super long distance of 170 miles (274 kilometers). The National Weather Service’s Jackson, Mississippi Office meteorologist, Lance Perrilloux, said this is really rare. He believes that this happened because of a lot of atmospheric instability.

Perrilloux said that their research showed how the tornado first started in Rolling Fork, and then moved towards Midnight, Silver City, Tchula, Black Hawk and Winona.

The same big storm caused a dangerous tornado and also made tornadoes that damaged parts of Alabama, according to Brian Squitieri from the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma. Some writers wrote this report too.

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