Jackson, Miss. (WCB) – AP News: So far, fewer than 20 injuries reported. A spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says Forrest County officials estimate that the tornado damaged several hundred homes. But so far, fewer than 20 injuries have been reported.
Greg Flynn says, the same twister apparently hit Marion and Lamar counties but did much less damage. He says storm damage also was reported in Lawrence County and a tornado touchdown in Wayne County, near Waynesboro. Flynn says, initial reports are that nearly 20 homes were hit hard in Marion County and several in Lamar County. He says thunderstorms stayed over the area, adding water damage to the wind damage.
Mississippi’s mobile command center has been sent to Hattiesburg, and all of MEMA’s area coordinators from north of Interstate 20 have been sent to the counties with damage.
Gov. Phil Bryant has declared a State of Emergency for four Mississippi counties hit by tornadoes and severe storms. Forrest, Lamar, Lawrence and Marion were named in the declaration Sunday night, but any other counties damaged by the continuing severe weather will be covered.
The declaration is an administrative tool that lets the state offer help to hard-hit areas. Storm spotters confirmed at least one tornado moved through Lamar and Forrest Counties, damaging Hattiesburg and three buildings at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Gov. Phil Bryant will be going to Hattiesburg to see damage from a tornado that apparently went through Marion, Lamar and Forrest counties.
Spokesman Mick Bullock says Bryant will be there Monday to check what’s described as extensive damage in Hattiesburg – including to the University of Southern Mississippi – and other parts of Forrest County. USM is Bryant’s alma mater. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn says director Robert Latham was heading to Hattiesburg on Sunday night within hours after the twister hit.
In spite of extensive damage, so far fewer than 20 injuries have been reported – 10 to 15 in Forrest County and three in Marion County. None is serious.
Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee says, 10 or 15 people were injured by the tornado that slammed Hattiesburg and other parts of the county – but none of the injuries was serious.
He says, “Most of our injuries have been walking wounded.” McGee says rescue workers are still going house-to-house to check on people and make sure nobody’s trapped.
Greg Flynn of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says officials estimate that several hundred homes were damaged in Forrest County. McGee says Forrest County doesn’t have tornado warning sirens, but he heard sirens from neighboring Lamar County and got text advisories from the University of Southern Mississippi.
He says that such warnings and people paying attention to weather radio probably helped keep the number of injuries low.
Marion County emergency director Aaron Greer says, three injuries – at least one minor – have been reported in the community of Pickwick, about seven miles south of Columbia. He says one person was taken to a hospital by ambulance, another by Triple-A, and the third person didn’t have the injury examined.
Greer says one mobile home was destroyed, three other structures have major damage, two or three have minor damage, and emergency workers are still checking three other roads where damage was reported.
Emergency officials say an apparent tornado has caused significant damage in Hattiesburg, Miss., after passing along a main road.
Forrest County Fire Coordinator Chip Brown says there is major damage in Hattiesburg and Petal, including on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. He couldn’t confirm injuries. He said the damage was still being evaluated, but that the storm passed along a main Hattiesburg thoroughfare.
National Weather Service meteorologist Joanne Culin says there have also been reports of injuries in Marion County. Nasty weather has settled in on much of Louisiana and Mississippi, including tornado or flash flood watches.
The National Weather Service says bad weather is likely to stretch into Fat Tuesday in southeast Louisiana. Jefferson Parish has canceled a Monday night parade.