Devastation in Mississippi
At least 25 killed during tornado and storms in Mississippi
At least 25 people died and dozens more were injured after a series of storms and at least one devastating tornado ripped through Mississippi on Friday night.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency tweeted the confirmed death toll, adding that an additional four people were also missing. The MEMA added that a number of "local and state search and rescue teams...continue to work this morning," with assets already on the ground to assist survivors.
The devastation began with a series of powerful storms hit across the state, "blowing out windows, ripping up trees and leveling homes and businesses," The New York Times reported. The crux of this storm was a massive tornado that passed through the towns of Rolling Fork and Silver City, 60 miles northwest of Jackson, Mississippi, the National Weather Service (NWS) reported.
Both rural communities were hit hard by the tornado, with Rolling Fork being almost totally destroyed, eyewitnesses said. "I've never seen anything like this," Rolling Fork resident Brandy Showah told CNN, adding, "This was a very great small town, and now it's gone."
Victoria Garland arrived in Rolling Fork to help following the storm, and similarly told the Jackson-based Clarion-Ledger, "It's total devastation. A lot we could see was gone. The skyline you grew up with your whole life is gone. The businesses we rely on are gone. We're definitely in shock."
The NWS had been anticipating a large storm system in Mississippi for a while, and a prior announcement by the agency didn't mince words, saying, "You are in a life-threatening situation...considerable damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles is likely and complete destruction is possible."
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) tweeted, "The loss will be felt in these towns forever," and asked people to "pray for God's hand to be over all."