Christmas storms injured 22, slammed 188 buildings in Mississippi

By The Associated Press

PEARL — The storms that ripped through Mississippi on Christmas Day injured 22 people and damaged or destroyed nearly 188 buildings in a dozen counties, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency reported Friday.

It said 65 of the buildings — 57 homes and eight businesses — were destroyed, with major damage to another 48 homes and two businesses.

The worst damage was in Pearl River County, where the National Weather Service confirmed an F-3 tornado hit near McNeill, about 10 miles north of Picayune. County authorities reported 10 injuries, 27 homes and three apartments destroyed, and another 26 homes and a public building damaged, according to a statement from MEMA.

Stone County, hit by the same tornado, reported seven homes destroyed, five homes with major damage and four homes with minor damage.

Seven people were injured in Lawrence County, where 11 homes and seven businesses were destroyed, and 22 homes and one business damaged.

Wilkinson and Hinds counties each reported two injuries, with one in Forrest County.

Wilkinson also reported two homes and a business destroyed and 22 homes, a business, a public building and a road damaged. The public building, one business and four homes had major damage, officials said. One home was destroyed in Hinds County; in Forrest, storms destroyed four homes and damaged two.

Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency on Tuesday so state money could be used to help local governments.

Other counties reporting storm damage to the emergency operations center in Pearl were:

—Amite: Three homes destroyed, seven damaged.

—George: At least two homes damaged.

—Greene: Two homes and one public building damaged.

—Jones: Nine homes damaged.

—Monroe: Localized flooding.

—Perry: Two homes destroyed and 12 homes and a business damaged.