By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Northeast Mississippi evaded catastrophe this weekend when a system of potentially deadly storms produced only minor damage.
Strong winds and rain toppled trees and downed power lines throughout the region but saved its worst for elsewhere in the state.
As of Saturday evening, at least 10 people were confirmed dead in Yazoo and Choctaw counties, where a tornado ripped through and caused major destruction.
Gov. Haley Barbour declared a state of emergency in those and 16 other counties damaged by storms and tornadoes. Three of the counties – Marshall, Oktibbeha and Union – are in Northeast Mississippi.
But law enforcement officers there reported little destruction beyond some flooding, fallen trees and power outages. A couple houses sustained some damage, but no one suffered injury, officials said.
“We come out real good,” said Union County Sheriff Tommy Wilhite. “We dodged a bullet here.”
Damage was heavier in Monroe County where, according to eyewitnesses, an alleged tornado touched down near the Hamilton Crossroads area. A sheriff’s officer spokesperson said trees, power lines and houses all took a hit. But there were no reports of injuries.
In Pontotoc County, damage assessment coordinator Mike Martin said a twister reportedly touched down in the northwest part of the county, but emergency responders dispatched to the area were unable to find any damage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report, as did Daily Journal reporter Errol Castens and Monroe Journal reporter Jeff Clark.