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Devastating Effects of Tornado in Mississippi – Widespread Damage Captured

by Ethan Kim
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A very strong tornado rolled through a Mississippi town on Friday night. It caused hurt people and destroyed many buildings, roads and power lines. The powerful wind also brought with it golf ball-sized hail all across the state. Authorities warned those in its path this was a “life-threatening situation”.

The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado damaged some areas almost one hundred kilometers away from Jackson, Mississippi. The small towns of Silver City and Rolling Fork reported destruction after the tornado began to speed toward Alabama at the rate of 70 miles per hour!

The National Weather Service warned everyone in this path: “To keep safe, find shelter NOW!”

A warning was given that said, “You’re in a very dangerous situation! If you don’t find shelter right away, flying objects could be deadly.Mobile homes will be destroyed and there’s going to be lots of damage to other buildings, businesses and vehicles – some of which could even become completely ruined.”

Cornel Knight told Big Big News that he, his wife and their 3-year-old daughter were staying with family members in Rolling Fork when the tornado hit. When asked about the sky during this event he said, “It was dark but you could tell where the storm was headed from all the electric transformers exploding.”

When the tornado came, it was really quiet. He watched from a doorway until the tornado was about one mile away. Then he told everyone in the house to hide in a hallway. The tornado hit another family’s home across a corn field from him, and their wall collapsed trapping some people inside. As he talked on the phone to someone, he saw lights from emergency vehicles over at the part-collapsed home.

The Mayor of Rolling Fork, Mr. Eldridge Walker, couldn’t leave his home after the tornado because there was no electricity. The emergency team was helping the injured people to go to the hospital. He didn’t have any information about how many hurt people there were though.

Mr. Fred Miller, who used to be the mayor of Rolling Fork said that a tornado swept away all windows of his house from the back side.

Storm chaser Reed Timmer recently said on Twitter that Rolling Fork needs help urgently and he’s taking local people who are hurt to a hospital in Vicksburg. The Sharkey-Issaquena Community Hospital in Rolling Fork was damaged, WAPT reported.

The Sharkey County Sheriff’s Office in Rolling Fork said that some people were stuck in the rubble of what used to be buildings, and there were also dangerous gas leaks. Some police officers were missing, and emergency services chose to open up several shelters around the area, which is made up of fields with cotton, corn and soybeans as well as catfish farming ponds.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced on Twitter Friday evening that the dedicated search and rescue crews were working hard to help those who have been affected. He warned everyone in the area to remain cautious and pay attention to weather reports through the night, asking them to keep all those in need of protection in their prayers.

This storm was a supercell which is known to be the type of storm that brews the most dangerous tornados and damaging hail in America, said Walker Ashley who is a professor for meteorology at University of Northern Illinois. What’s even worse about this one is that it’s a wet night-time supercell – which means this storm is especially serious!

Weather scientists saw that there was a high chance of a tornado happening in the area around one week earlier, starting from March 17. The National Weather Service gave an official warning about this on March 19. Experts have been telling people that if they build more structures in the region, then it will put them at greater risk for tornadoes.

Ashley wrote in an email that “when you have a place with people who don’t have a lot of money, and combine it with a hurricane coming at night, then bad things can happen.” Recently, tragedy struck in Missouri when six young adults were in a car trying to drive over a bridge during heavy rains. Unfortunately, their car was swept away by the water, and two of them drowned.

Four people were able to escape the water, but two didn’t make it. Devon Holt, 20, of Grovespring and Alexander Roman-Ranelli, 19, of Springfield both passed away. The driver mentioned that it was tough to see while the heavy rain made vision almost impossible. Additionally, the bridge had been submerged in a creek making visibility very limited.

In the meantime, there is an ongoing search in a different part of Southwest Missouri for a woman who disappeared while flooding from a nearby river swept away a car. The Logan Rogersville Fire Protection District claimed they have found no clues to her whereabouts yet. However, two other people inside of the vehicle were saved and rescuers are now looking into getting boats as well as sending out searchers along the riverbanks to look for her.

On Friday morning, there was some severe storm in southern Missouri and north Texas. A woman’s car got swept away by a big flood near Granby, Missouri. Layton Hoyer jumped into very cold water to rescue her from the raging flood waters. It had rained for 3 inches (8 centimeters) during this time.

Matt Elliott, which is a special weather guy at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma, said that really bad storms are coming to several states.

The Storm Prediction Center said that the most dangerous storms with tornadoes were expected to hit parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Strong winds, hail and blackouts were also predicted for eastern Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois.

More than 49,000 people had already lost electricity in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee by Friday evening according to poweroutage.us.

Early this morning in Texas, there was a possible tornado that seriously damaged homes and brought down trees and power lines in Wise County. Fortunately, nobody got hurt. The people at the Weather Service haven’t confirmed it yet, but some homes in Parker County were also harmed.

Writers from different places around the US – Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi, Jim Salter in O’Fallon, Missouri, Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, Robert Jablon in Los Angeles and Jackie Quinn in Washington DC – all worked together on this report.

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