Northeast Mississippi spent Tuesday assessing the damage from storms that tore across the state and injured at least 32 people.
Tornadoes touched down Monday night in Monroe County and Yazoo City and in Oktibbeha near Starkville.
According to the National Weather Service in Memphis, the storm that hit the south Monroe County community of Becker was an EF2 storm, with winds reaching 115 mph. The scale goes from EF0 to EF5, with 5 being the strongest category.
“This storm was severely destructive,” said Monroe County Emergency Management Director Robert “Bunky” Goza. “We are still assessing the damage, but so far we have approximately 50 homes that have suffered damages that are minor in nature all the way to being totally destroyed. No fatalities occurred due to the storm but 11 people were injured – one person is still in the hospital.”
Susan Stoddard was in her single-wide mobile home when the severe weather hit. She and her husband were treated with minor injuries and released from Gilmore Memorial Medical Center in Amory.
“We were asleep when this happened,” Stoddard said. “I heard some noise, but I thought it was just heavy rain. Then, the trailer started rolling and rolling and finally, it stopped. I’m just glad my two girls weren’t hurt – they were bruised, but nothing major. We had to crawl out from one end of the trailer that was almost in a tree to the other end to get out. I just thank God that we are alive.”
At least 15 people were injured in Starkville when a possible tornado touched down in the area. Seven were admitted to the hospital but later released, according to Oktibbeha County Coroner Michael Hunt.
Much of the damage occurred on the south side of Starkville, where dozens of homes were damaged in the Pines mobile home park, said Sgt. Tom Roberson of the Starkville Police Department.
In Yazoo City at least 24 businesses were damaged during the storm.
Alabama emergency management officials said a possible tornado toppled trees and power lines in Lamar County near the Mississippi line Tuesday morning, and winds estimated near 70 mph blew a vehicle off the road near Cordova in Walker County.
In Lee County, several trees and limbs were blown down during the storm, but the area had no considerable structural damage, according to Sheriff Jim Johnson.
According to the National Weather Service, the storm has passed through the region, leaving cold weather at least through next week.
Gov. Haley Barbour signed a state of emergency order for Attala, Leake, Monroe, Oktibbeha, Smith, Warren and Yazoo counties and other parts of the state that sustained significant damage.
Counties most severely affected by Monday night’s storms
- Attala: Two homes major damage, eight homes minor damage, nine mobile homes destroyed, two mobile homes major damage and 14 minor damage. Six injuries reported.
- Monroe: One home destroyed, four homes major damage, nine homes minor damage, eight mobile homes destroyed, five mobile homes major damage, 14 mobile homes minor damage. Eleven injuries reported.
- Oktibbeha: Preliminary damage reports include damage to 11 homes. In the Pines Mobile Home Park, 15 mobile homes destroyed, 18 major damage, 20 minor damage, 44 others affected. Seven businesses are reporting minor damage. Fifteen injuries reported.
- Yazoo: Eight homes major damage, five homes minor damage, 18 homes affected, two mobile homes major damage, one mobile home minor damage, two apartments major damage, one business destroyed, seven businesses with major damage and 16 businesses with minor damage.
SOURCE: Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
Danza Johnson and Jeff Clark/NEMS Daily Journal