EDITORIAL: Weather cautions

By NEMS Daily Journal

A second consecutive weekend of fatally severe weather, this time across the northern counties and cities of Mississippi, sent state, county and municipal officials into full review modes even before storms and flooding subsided late Sunday.
Six residents of the region lost their lives in tornadoes, flood waters and two-weather-related traffic accidents, bringing the total for Mississippi to 15 during the last two weekends.
At least two tornadoes were preliminarily rated Monday on the National Weather Service’s website:
– A preliminary EF-3, with 145 mph winds, raked across Benton and Tippah counties, starting about two miles southeast of Ashland and leaving a 27.7-mile track ranging from 100 yards to one-half mile wide. Two people were killed in Benton county, and 30 residences were destroyed.
– A preliminary EF-2 tornado hit ground in Lafayette County at Abbeville at 2:14 a.m., killing one person and damaging four residences in a 1.4 mile track and 130 mph winds.
Flooding caused by record or near-record two-day rainfall totals in some communities claimed one life in Alcorn County.
Some roads and streets were closed because of flood waters overrushing them at least part of Saturday, Sunday and/or Monday.
Most of the flood-related closures were on highways that historically have seen high-water closures:
– Highway 4 in Benton County between Ashland and Holly Springs has been closed due to flood waters which have caused a washout. It could be open today.
– U.S. Highway 72 reopened in Corinth during the day on Monday.
– Highway 370 north of Dumas in Tippah County remains closed.
– A four-mile section of Highway 370 between Ashland and Mississippi Highway 1 was closed to traffic by the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Sheriff’s Department due to site-seeing by residents.
In Tupelo, a chronically flood-prone stretch of Lynn Circle and Valley Road experienced flooding and water in some homes.
Mayor Jack Reed., Jr., said the flooding apparently has worsened because of development north of the popular, long-established neighborhood off North Gloster Street. He said the city will explore options to improve the situation.
Most of the roads, streets and highways closed by high water are open almost all of the time, but their histories of flooding should be a permanent caution for motorists using them during heavy rains like Saturday and Sunday.
As in all other events of severe weather damage, many of the victims need help in starting recovery.
The American Red Cross is accepting cash to help the victims: 4127 Westside Drive, Tupelo 38804, or 1-800-REDCROSS, or redcross.org.

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