The Governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, has declared a state of emergency after 24 twisters tore through the state killing dozens, injuring others and leaving a trail of destruction likened to a ‘war zone.’
The powerful tornadoes spawned from a storm that carved a ferocious path northeastward across Mississippi and parts of Alabama at 80mph, according to AccuWeather.
At least 24 people were killed across the two states, a majority in Mississippi with only one victim, a 67-year-old man, recorded in Alabama so far.
Authorities have said that they expect that number to rise however, as search-and-rescue crews continue to sift through the rubble left behind by the ferocious weather system.
The rural towns of Silver City and Rolling Fork, about 60 miles northeast of Jackson, Mississippi, bore the brunt of damage from a tornado that hit the area just after 8 pm Friday.
Reeves arrived in Rolling Fork on Saturday along with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He said that he has the full support of U.S. president Joe Biden who assured him over the phone that FEMA would be there to ‘support’ the response.
A vicious storm system spawning 24 twisters that ravaged Mississippi has torn apart a small rural town in the state with drone footage revealing the breadth of the devastation
The Governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves (pictured) has declared a state of emergency after 24 twisters tore through the state killing dozens, injuring others and leaving a trail of destruction likened to a ‘war zone’
Reeves arrived in Rolling Fork on Saturday along with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He said that he has the full support of U.S. president Joe Biden who assured him over the phone that FEMA would be there to ‘support’ the response
Search and rescue teams have now been deployed to Rolling Fork, along with ambulances
Biden said that he and First Lady Jill Biden are ‘praying for those who have lost loved ones in the devastating tornadoes in Mississippi and those whose loved ones are missing.’
He acknowledged that he’d spoken to Reeves, as well as I spoke with U.S. Senator for Mississippi, Roger Wicker, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and U.S. representative for Mississippi’s 2nd congressional district Bennie Thompson.
‘To express my condolences and offer full federal support,’ he said.
Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Deanne Criswell were also among people Biden reached out to in the wake of the devastation.
‘[She] has already deployed emergency response personnel and resources to support search-and-rescue and assess the damage,’ he said.
‘We will do everything we can to help. We will work together to deliver the support you need to recover, for as long as it takes.’
John Fairman, the CEO of Delta Health, told DailyMail.com he wasn’t in Rolling Fork at the time of the tornado but came to inspect the damage at one of his clinics that was split in half.
‘The landscape looks leveled, it looks like it’s been hit by a bomb,’ he said.
‘Everything is gone, homes and businesses, I’m outside the clinic now and it’s split in half.’
His son, Tony, said the destruction from the natural disaster was shocking.
‘It looks like all these homes were destroyed and we’re under attack. It looks like a war zone,’ he said.
Aerial footage shot on a drone from Rolling Fork shows gutted homes, battered vehicles lodged among rubble and resident’s belongings scattered across the wasteland.
Other images from the town revealed shattered residents wandering through the town pouring over the debris hoping to save what valuables they had left.
As dawn broke over Mississippi, the trail of destruction left by the powerful tornadoes lay bare.
Meanwhile, a 67-year-old Alabama man has been killed after being trapped inside his mobile home during the Friday night tornadoes, CNN reported.
A spokesperson for the Morgan County emergency department confirmed the death and told the outlet it was unclear whether one powerful tornado or two separate storms devastated the area.
The Morgan County fatality is the only recorded so far in Alabama and has raised the death toll for the entire storm system to 24.
It comes as authorities revealed that a husband and wife were found dead in their Rolling Fork home after winds sent a neighbor’s 18-wheel truck slamming into their home.
Rolling Fork resident Shanta Howard said the community had pulled together to help with the operation.
‘Everybody is helping everybody, not just this part of town – it’s everywhere,’ she told WAPT 16.
‘Everybody is helping and praying for everybody. As you can see, nobody has a home here.
‘We had to help dead bodies out of the house. That is very disturbing – actually seeing people losing their lives over bad weather like this.
‘What was going through my head? ‘Lord I don’t want to die. I don’t want me or the kids to die.’
Shelters were opened in Mississippi for people forced from their homes by the tornadoes in Sharkey, Monroe and Humphreys counties.
Wonder Bolden was seen cradling her one-year-old granddaughter Journey as she surveys the remains of her mother’s tornado demolished mobile home in Rolling Fork
A rescuer is seen wading through the debris in Rolling Fork, Mississippi on March 25 after the rural town was battered by tornadoes which left 24 dead
The severe weather event produced hail the size of golf balls as it swept through several southern states
Private citizens are being urged to not clear up by themselves and wait to volunteer with affiliated groups
A resident looks through the piles of debris, insulation, and home furnishings to see if anything is salvageable at a mobile home park in Rolling Fork
Shelters are open at the National Guard Armory in Rolling Fork, the Humphreys County multipurpose building in Belzoni, and the Old Amory National Guard building in Amory.
All are serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, according to the MEMA.
Volunteer Mississippi, a state volunteer commission, asked people to check on their neighbors but not to go out looking to help until emergency responders were done with their work.
The organization said they would post volunteer opportunities online, and MEMA said the group would match volunteers with groups on the ground ‘when the time is right.’
‘While our core instincts say to GO! DO! We must wait for the highly trained men and women of our emergency response network to do their selfless work and get folks to safety,’ said a tweet from Volunteer Mississippi.
Good Samaritans were pictured in High-Viz jackets wading through the debris on Saturday morning.
Over 30 million people were under a tornado warning through the evening, and were being warned to brace for the killer storms which brought golf ball-sized hail.
Homes had their roofs ripped off and power lines were downed – leaving victims trapped under rubble and thousands without power.
Authorities warned those in its path to brace for a ‘life threatening situation’ and on Saturday morning deployed search-and-rescue teams to several counties in the region.
Aerial footage from Rolling Fork shows gutted homes, battered vehicles lodged among rubble and resident’s belongings scattered across the wasteland
Two trucks were among the vehicles that were lodged among the debris
The entire town of Rolling Fork was leveled homes and businesses completely gutted
As dawn broke over Mississippi, the trail of destruction left by the powerful tornadoes lay bare
Authorities warned those in its path to brace for a ‘life threatening situation’ and on Saturday morning deployed search-and-rescue teams to several counties in the region to sift through the debris
23 people have been killed, 13 in Sharkey County, where the town of Rolling Fork – one of the hardest hit – is located
‘I’ve never seen anything like this,’ Rolling Fork resident Brandy Showah told CNN. ‘This was a very great small town, and now it’s gone.’
The Governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, tweeted early Saturday: ‘At least twenty three Mississippians were killed by last night’s violent tornadoes.’
‘We know that many more are injured. Search and rescue teams are still active.
‘The loss will be felt in these towns forever. Please pray for God’s hand to be over all who lost family and friends.’
Later he tweeted: ‘Just completed command briefing with our disaster response team. Devastating damage – as everyone knows.’
‘This is a tragedy. I am on my way to Sharkey County to be with the people first hit. We are blessed with brave, capable responders and loving neighbors. Please continue to pray.’
As dawn broke a trail of destruction left by powerful tornadoes ripping through Mississippi was laid bare with one town obliterated by the devastating storm
At least 23 people were killed across several counties in the region while four remain missing as emergency services started to assess the damage of the 24 twisters recorded by the storm prediction center
Shattered residents were seen wandering through a wasteland of debris in Rolling Fork, as others picked through the rubble of their gutted homes hoping to save what valuables they had left
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency met on Saturday morning to get more information about the overnight storms and plan how to tackle the devastation
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency met on Saturday morning to get more information about the overnight storms and plan how to tackle the devastation.
They tweeted a picture from the meeting and said: ‘Currently meeting with our command staff to get more information in the overnight storms and our plan of action moving forward.’
‘Information regarding sheltering and feeding operations coming soon.’
Later they said: ‘Our executive director is enroute with the Governor. Also, a FEMA Region IV IMAT team is on the way to the state to assist as well.
‘We cannot say thank you enough to the amount of people helping our state right now. Mississippi is resilient and we will get through this.’
So far, recorded deaths include 13 roughly 60 miles northwest of Jackson in Sharkey County, home to Rolling Fork, according to county coroner Angelia Easton.
Search and rescue teams have been deployed to Sharkey County, Mississippi after a severe storm ripped through the community
A house in Sharkey County is seen torn apart on Friday night after the tornado blitzed its way across the area
Severe damage has been reported in the town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi after the tornado ripped through homes and businesses
Three others were killed and at least two in a critical condition in Humphreys County, emergency management director Royce Steed told the outlet early Saturday morning.
In Carroll County, three people died in one home, coroner Mark Stiles said adding that it appears they were killed in a tornado.
Meanwhile, two people were killed in Monroe County in northeastern Mississippi, coroner Alan Gurley said.
The tornado has left a trail of destruction and storm debris at least 100 miles long, and is reportedly already battering Alabama.
The storms knocked out power for more than 100,000 homes and businesses across Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee as of 5.45 am ET, with more than 70,000 outages reported in Tennessee alone, according to PowerOutage.us.
NWS issued an urgent alert after the tornado touched down, cautioning: ‘To protect your life, take cover now’.
‘You are in a life-threatening situation,’ it warned.
A line of severe storms is moving across the South during evening and nighttime hours, especially across parts of the lower Mississippi Valley
Another home has its roof torn clean off following the devastating winds and lightning on Friday
‘Flying debris may be deadly to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be destroyed.
‘Considerable damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles is likely and complete destruction is possible.’
Search and rescue teams were deployed to Sharkey and Humphreys counties in Mississippi, while first responders were forced to disperse injured victims to surrounding hospitals after the Sharkey-Issaquena Community Hospital saw significant damage.
Mississippi resident Corney Knight said that he, his wife and their three-year-old daughter were at a relative’s home when the tornado hit, which he described as ‘eerily quiet’ just moments before.
He added the sky was dark but ‘you could see the direction from every transformer that blew.’
Meanwhile cars were spotted trying to flee the area and others regrouped following the tornado
Some residents of the tiny town looked to be standing around in a daze following the carnage
The skies above Pope, Mississippi looked especially threatening on Friday night where flashes of lightning could be seen
More than half a dozen emergency shelters have been set up throughout Mississippi after the twister ripped through homes and businesses.
After the twister tore through the small town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, storm chaser Zachary Hill tweeted: ‘The damage in Rolling Fork, Mississippi is BAD. People are trapped, we need help here.’
Authorities stressed the urgency of the situation, and Hill said police begged him to get the message out: ‘Major tornado damage, we need as many ambulances as possible and any help for search and rescue in this town.’
Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker told WLBT-TV the tornado left him unable to leave his home after it caused significant damage and downed power lines leading to his property.
‘The west part of Rolling Fork is a residential area, and just a number of houses over there have been completely destroyed,’ added former Rolling Fork mayor Fred Miller.
‘Highway 61, where most of our businesses are, all of the businesses on 61 have been completely destroyed. People are trapped in a couple of the eateries, and people are trying to get them out now.’
It was pitch black apart from a few power flashes in Anguilla, Mississippi as the tornado passed through
A tornado about a mile wide appeared to be crossing Mississippi from Anguilla, through to Silver City, Belzoni and Rolling Fork
Severe thunderstorms in the south on Friday night could produce tornadoes
Forecasters had been warning residents in parts of the Midwest and South on Friday that dangerously strong winds would be moving through the region
The tornado has come after several states through the Midwest were battered by a severe weather front, with southern Missouri hit by nearly three inches of rain Thursday night.
Torrential rainfall in the area led to the deaths of two people after their car was swept away in the deluge. Authorities said six young adults were inside the vehicle, however only four escaped.
The body of Devon Holt, 20, of Grovespring, was found at 3.30am, and the body of Alexander Roman-Ranelli, 19, of Springfield, was recovered about six hours later, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Thomas Young said.
Reports indicate a suspected tornado also touched down early Friday in north Texas, damaging homes and downing trees and power lines.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards warned of potential tornadoes reaching the state into the weekend, as he urged residents to prepare for significant damage.
The storm system was fueled by a dip in the jet stream that powered through California on Tuesday and Wednesday resulting in tornadoes there including one that hit the downtown LA area – the first in the area since 1953.
A red SUV is seen submerged in floodwaters on Old Ritchey Road in Granby, Missouri early on Friday.An elderly woman was recued from the car
A man stuck in a tree is rescued by swift water teams from Copper Canyon Fire and Medical District, and the Verde Valley Fire District in Camp Verde, Arizona. Several water rescues were reported across central and northern Arizona during the week
Torrential rains led to backyards being flooded in Bryant, Arkansas on Friday
Backyards appeared more like lakes following the enormous downpours
The main threats Saturday will be damaging winds and isolated tornadoes as the larger storm system heads east and is expected to push off the East Coast by the evening.
On Sunday, a Level 2 out of 5 risk is in place across portions of the South for another round of severe storms that will bring damaging winds, isolated tornadoes and severe hail to the area.
The areas impacted will include Montgomery in Alabama, Jackson in Mississippi, and Columbus and Macon in Georgia.
Flooding could also pose a threat across portions of the South, as an additional 2 to 4 inches of rain is possible through Sunday.
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