Aid began arriving in one of the poorest regions of the United States on Sunday after deadly tornadoes left a trail of destruction in the Mississippi Delta.
At least 25 people were killed and dozens more injured in Mississippi when the massive storm hit several cities in its hour-long path Friday night. Another man died in Alabama after his mobile home flipped several times, bringing the death toll as of Sunday afternoon to 26.
New storms hit Georgia this Sunday, where two tigers briefly escaped from their safari park, which was severely damaged by the intense bad weather. Search and recovery teams resumed the immense task of digging through the rubble of flattened and shattered homes, commercial buildings and municipal offices after hundreds of people were displaced.
Volunteers add to tornado relief effort
Jarrod Kunze drove to the town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, one of the hardest-hit areas, from his home in Alabama after learning of the storm, to volunteer “in any way I’m needed.” “The city is devastated,” Kunze described. “Everything I can see is in some state of destruction,” he added.
Kunze was among several volunteers working in an area for rescuers, where cases of bottled water and other supplies were being prepared for distribution.
“Sharkey County, Mississippi, is one of the poorest counties in the state, but we’re still resilient,” Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker explained Sunday.
“I’m confident we’re going to come back and rebuild this community bigger and better for our families and that’s what we hope and that’s what we’re looking to do.” “Keep praying for us,” he added. “We have a long way to go, and we certainly thank everyone for their prayers and for anything you do or can do for this community,” he noted.
Weather Service Warns of More Tornadoes in Mississippi
President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration for Mississippi early Sunday, making federal funds available for the hardest-hit areas.
Recovery efforts in Mississippi were underway even as the National Weather Service (NWS) warned Sunday of the potential for new storms to develop, bringing high winds, hail and possible tornadoes to Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
What were the tornadoes in Mississippi like? Here’s what is known
According to early data, the deadliest tornado as of this Sunday in Mississippi received a preliminary rating of EF-4, the NWS Jackson office explained in a tweet posted Saturday.
An EF-4 tornado has maximum wind gusts between 265 kilometers per hour and 320 kilometers per hour (166 miles per hour and 200 miles per hour), according to the NWS. Jackson’s office advised that it was still gathering information about the tornado.
The tornado devastated a swath of the town of Rolling Fork, home to 2,000 people, reducing homes to piles of rubble and flipping cars on their sides.
Preliminary information based on estimates from storm reports and radar data indicate the tornado was on the ground for more than an hour and crossed at least 170 miles (274 kilometers), detailed Lance Perrilloux, a meteorologist with the NWS office in Jackson, Mississippi.
“That’s rare, very, very rare,” said Perrilloux, who attributed the tornado’s long path to atmospheric instability.
Perrilloux said preliminary findings showed the tornado began its path of destruction just southwest of Rolling Fork and then tracked northeast, where it struck the rural communities of Midnight and Silver City and into Tchula, Black Hawk and Winona.
The ‘atmospheric supercell’ that produced the deadly tornado also appeared to produce more tornadoes that caused damage in northwest and north-central Alabama, said Brian Squitieri, severe storm meteorologist with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
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