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Difficult recovery underway in tornado-ravaged Mississippi

After a deadly tornado blazed a trail of destruction in the Mississippi Delta, help began pouring into one of the poorest regions of the United States.

At least 25 people were killed and dozens injured in Mississippi. A huge storm hit several towns Late Friday on the road for an hour. A man has died after his mobile home flipped over several times in Alabama.

After hundreds of people were displaced from their homes, search and recovery crews resumed their arduous task of digging up the rubble of collapsed and battered homes, commercial buildings and municipalities.

After hearing about the storm, Jarrod Kunze drove from his home in Alabama to the hard-hit town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi.

“The town is in ruins,” Kunze said. “Everything I can see is in some state of destruction.”

Kunze was one of several volunteers working in a staging area Sunday morning where cases of bottled water and other supplies were being prepared for distribution.

“Sharkey County, Mississippi is one of the poorest counties in Mississippi, but it’s still resilient,” Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker said Sunday. “We are confident that we will be able to come back and bring this community back to being bigger and better for our families. That’s it.”

“Keep praying for us,” he added. “We’ve come a long way, but we really appreciate your prayers and what they do or can do for this community.”

President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Mississippi early Sunday morning, making federal funds available to the hardest-hit areas.

Restoration work in Mississippi was underway even as the National Weather Service warned of new dangers. Sunday in more severe weather — Includes potential high winds, severe hail and tornadoes in Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

A tornado reportedly made landfall early Sunday morning in Troup County, Georgia, near the border with Alabama, according to the Georgia Mutual Aid Group. Affected areas included the county seat of Lagrange, about 67 miles (about 108 kilometers) southwest of Atlanta.

The agency said on Facebook, “Many buildings were damaged and people were trapped. In nearby West Point, roads including Interstate 85 were blocked by debris.” Don’t move if you don’t need to.”

At Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain, Georgia, two tigers “temporarily escaped” from their enclosure early Sunday morning after a tornado devastated the park, the park said on its Facebook page. Did. “Tigers are safe!” Park added. “Both were found, tranquilized and safely returned to their safe enclosures.” It added that no employees or animals were injured.

In a statement, the White House said it could use federal funds to help rebuild Carroll, Humphries, Monroe, and Sharkey counties in Mississippi following Biden’s declaration.

The Twister flattened entire blocks, demolished homes, ripped spires from churches, and knocked over the city’s water tower.

Based on early data, the tornado received a preliminary EF-4 rating, the National Weather Service in Jackson tweeted late Saturday. Gusts of wind (265 to 320 km/h) blow. The Jackson office warned that it was still gathering information about the tornado.

The tornado devastated the 2,000-person town of Rolling Fork, turning homes into piles of rubble and cars overturned.other part of deep south I was digging up from damage caused by another suspect Twister. One man died in Morgan County, Alabama, the state sheriff’s office said. Tweet.

In a briefing, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said 25 people were confirmed dead, 55 injured and 2,000 homes damaged or destroyed in Mississippi. High winds, hail and strong storms were expected in parts of Alabama and Georgia on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

“I don’t know how anyone survived,” said Rodney Porter, who lives 20 miles (32 km) south of Rolling Fork. He said he smelled natural gas and heard people screaming for help in the dark.

“Houses are gone, houses are piled on top of houses and cars are on top of them,” he said.

Annette Bodie, who drove from nearby Beloj to the hard-hit town of Silver City, said she felt “blessed” that her home was not destroyed, but others said lost everything.

“I cried last night, I cried this morning,” she said, looking around the collapsed houses. She said, “They said you needed to hide, but it happened so quickly that many people didn’t even get the chance to hide.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has declared a state of emergency and vowed to help rebuild the area after seeing the damage in the area’s vast cotton, corn, soybean fields and catfish ponds. I spoke with Biden, who also called.

More than half a dozen shelters have been opened in Mississippi to house displaced people.

Preliminary information, based on extrapolations from storm reports and radar data, indicates that the tornado has been on the ground for more than an hour and has traveled at least 170 miles (274 kilometers), according to the National Weather Service’s Jackson, Mississippi office. meteorologist Lance Pellelou said. .

“It’s rare. Very rare,” he said, attributing a long way to widespread atmospheric instability.

Pellilou said the tornado began its path of destruction just southwest of Rolling Fork before heading northeast toward the rural areas of Midnight and Silver City before heading toward Chula, Black Hawk and Winona.

Supercell, which created the deadly twister, also appears to have created a tornado that wreaked havoc in northwestern and north-central Alabama, said a severe storm forecaster at the Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Brian Squitieri said.

In Georgia, Rachel McMahon woke up Sunday morning with news from her father that a storm had completely destroyed the Troop County motel he was staying at. , said her father, who was physically handicapped and had trouble moving around, took refuge in the bathtub.

He was very upset, but he was not hurt. She went to check on him on Sunday morning, but a fallen tree had blocked her path and she had to walk the last half mile to the motel.

“Thank you so much for keeping my father alive,” she wrote on Facebook Sunday morning, posting photos and videos of the damage. A house with a gaping hole in the roof, a giant tree trunk broken in half, power lines hanging in every direction.


Associated Press journalists Emily Wagster Pettas and Robert Bumstead in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Michael Goldberg of Silver City, Mississippi. Jim Salter of O’Fallon, Missouri. Lea Skene of Baltimore and Nicole Winfield of Rome contributed to this report.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/national/2023/03/26/crews-continue-to-sift-through-deep-south-tornado-wreckage/ Difficult recovery underway in tornado-ravaged Mississippi

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