Authorities say that there are no deaths reported so far, and they hope this will remain true. Hattiesburg, where the tornado touched down, has seen extensive damage.
CNN reports that Robert Latham, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, stated:
“I hope to goodness that when all this is said and done, all we have to do is clean up a mess and that we haven’t lost any lives in this.”
Hattiesburg is home to the University of Southern Mississippi, which suffered to damage to some buildings. There were no reports of injuries on the campus, but university police still declared a state of emergency. They have warned people to stay away from campus until further notice.
United Press International notes that the tornado that hit Mississippi also caused damage to the Oak Grove High School campus. The funnel cloud touched down in northern Lamar County and moved into Forrest County by 5:40 pm EST.
Along with causing damage to buildings, it also took down power lines and flung debris along its path. Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee stated, “There’s quite a few homes without power at this point. Quite a few trees on houses, on cars, that type of thing.”
Hattiesburg resident Sara Lawrence recalled the tornado, saying:
“Within seconds, everything changed. I didn’t feel like there was much notice. I heard the sirens and everything looked OK outside, so I started making preparations to go into the bathroom. And then, next thing I know, all the lights went out, and it got dark outside.”
The storm that spawned the Mississippi tornado also caused tornado warnings in southeastern Mississippi and southwestern Alabama, though there were no other reports of funnel clouds touching down.
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