Tornado leaves four dead in Mississippi
- Author: Phil Peters Jan 23, 2017,
Jan 23, 2017, 0:29
At least four people have been killed and more than 20 injured in the U.S. southern state of MS as a result of a "possible tornado" and other severe storms, said the state's Emergency Management Agency (EMA).
The National Weather Service reported that 3.42 inches of rain fell over a six- to seven-hour period Saturday morning, and another round of storms were forecast for Saturday night.
More than 40 firefighters from across MS had gathered outside Hattiesburg police headquarters to search. A spokesperson for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said the tornado touched down in Lamar, plowed through Forrest and then struck Perry before dissipating.
William Carey University's campus received so much damage from the tornado that it is now temporarily closed.
"There are some minor injuries", said Mia Overton, William Carey public relations coordinator. He says the city does not yet have an estimate on how many buildings are damaged or destroyed. "Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris".
Photos and television images showed the intensity of the damage.
The tornado was part of a wall of storms that knocked out power to almost 16,000 customers, mostly in Forrest County, where Hattiesburg is the county seat. "Arrangements will be made for students who can not go home".
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Tegan Sager, a freshman from Hermiston, Ore., said she'd never been in a tornado.
She said of her son: "They couldn't get him out of the house". She said bursts of lightning lit up the outside just before the tornado hit. She and 20 other students huddled in the first-floor dorm hallway, cradling their heads in their hands. Its campus near the coast in Tradition, Miss., is still open.
Four people died after the twister blew through the city and surrounding area, Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict said.
Severe thunderstorms are likely Saturday evening in those areas, with the possibility of golf ball-size hail, heavy winds and tornadoes. He said it was too soon to estimate the number of injured people.
Information for this article was contributed by staff members of The Associated Press.
The National Weather Service in Jackson warned of hazardous weather Saturday in parts of southeast Arkansas, northeast Louisiana and in central, north central, northwest and west central Mississippi.