BY LEESHA FAULKNER
TUPELO – A series of severe thunderstorms rumbled across Northeast Mississippi late Wednesday night, resulting in extensive damage in Lee County.
Shortly before midnight, emergency workers examined damaged caused by high winds blowing down the construction crane at North Mississippi Medical Center. Authorities reported no injuries, but three vehicles – two vans and a utility truck – were crushed after the crane toppled on top of a parking garage at the north entrance to the facility.
Just across town, firefighters responded to a blaze in an apartment at Glenkirk Apartments at 1341 Ida St. Authorities believe the fire was caused by a lightning strike.
Other reports rolled into the Tupelo-Lee County Emergency Management Agency late Tuesday night and early today.
“We're busy,” said Claudia Howard, the agency director.
A slow-moving cold front pushing south from Tennessee precipitated the storms, according to the National Weather Service at Thompson Field in Jackson. The first storm dumped torrential rain and pea-sized hail onto Tupelo around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
A tornado was indicated by radar about 9:45 p.m. over Verona, moving to the south toward Shannon. Howard said there were no reports of a funnel cloud touching down in Lee County.
Residents and businesses in western Tupelo lost power during the early portion of the evening after high winds brought down a power line on Coley Road, authorities said.
Another storm with high winds pushed into Lee County at approximately 11 p.m., resulting in more downed trees and power lines. Lee County was under a severe thunderstorm warning until 12:15 a.m. with anticipated winds up to 70 mph, and 2-inch hail, Howard said.
Lee County road crews and Tupelo Water & Light crews toiled into the wee hours of the morning, removing trees from roads and power lines.
“We have trees down all over the county,” Howard said.
The public reported at least one other fire resulting from a lightning strike, Howard said, in Saltillo shortly after 10:30 p.m.