UPDATE: Fifth person dies in weather-related accident

By NEMS Daily Journal

10:11 p.m.: Reports show most the severe weather has moved through Northeast Miss. Click here for the forecast. More photos and stories in Monday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper and NEMS360.com.

7:56 p.m. Lee County Coroner Carolyn Gillentine-Green said Monique Braham, 16, of Shannon died today when the car in which she was riding hydroplaned and collided with another vehicle that had pulled over on the shoulder of the highway to help another driver who had hydroplaned minutes earlier.

The accident occurred on U.S. 45 in Tupelo between between the Eason Boulevard and Main Street exits.

The drive of the vehicle was also taken to the North Mississippi Medical Center but is in stable condition, according to Gillentine-Green.

7:48 p.m.: Union County Schools will be open. Buses will pick up whomever they can. Those who can’t be picked up or can’t get to school will be excused.

7:19 p.m.: South Tippah School District is closed Monday.

6:36 p.m.: Tupelo Superintendent Randy Shaver said there was flooding at Rankin and Thomas Street Elementary and the Middle school, but crews have cleaned it up. – Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal.

5:52 p.m.: From New Albany Superintendent Charles Garrett:

Most of the district’s buildings took on water.
– At New Albany High School, 5 or 6 English classes got water on the carpet from flooding that came under the doors.
– The Vocational Center got a lot of wet carpets from water that seeped under the doors
– New Albany Middle School cafeteria got water from some roof leaks
– The football field house got a good bit of water that seeped under the doors.

A lot of school personnel, administrators, custodial staff and coaches were at the schools on Sunday trying to clean them up. They were using dry vacs on the wet carpets.

Other observations from Garrett:
A lot of bridges in New Albany were under water
Sam T. Barkley Drive was one of the worst spots.
The Sportsplex got a lot of water
The Tallahatchie River is really wide (he said it looked like the Mississippi River).

He said that the Tallahatchie River Bridge downtown (on Bankhead Street) had become a tourist attraction with several people on the side of the road taking pictures

He said that WNAU radio station looked like it was on an island.

– Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
5:50 p.m.: Alcorn County schools will be closed Monday.

4:56 p.m.: For Tishomingo County, Supt. Malcolm Kuykendall said they will have schools starting at the usual times. However, they are instructing bus drivers to not go down any road where they see danger, and they will not count the children who are affected as absent. The only facility damage was a roof leak at Burnsville, and crews are expected to have problems there cleared up today. – Lena Mitchell/Daily Journal

4:51 p.m.: Marshall County schools will be be open, but buses will not be running. Parents are asked to bring their children to school if they usually ride the bus.

4:50 p.m.: Prentiss County School District closed Monday.

3:39 p.m.: Most of Corinth is under water and an unidentified fatality has been reported in the worst flooding seen in many years, the police chief said.
The body of a person who ran off north Shiloh Road into a ditch near Shiloh Ridge Golf Club was recovered from deep, swift-running water that resulted from the heavy rainfall, said Chief David Lancaster. The person is not being identified at this time pending notification of family.
At different times several areas of U.S. Highway 72 have been impassable, including at the Fulton Drive, Cass Street and Harper Road intersections, he said.
According to another report, the Alcorn County Sheriff’s Office also was under water with phones out of service still at 3 p.m., and inmates had to be taken out of the facility.
Patty Tucker, exec director of Red Cross said she is at the shelter at Crossroads Arena in Corinth. She said there are 9 residents at the shelter now and she expects more.
Monetary donations are being accepted. Folk can mail them in to the Red Cross in Tupelo at 4127 Westside Drive, by going to redcross.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. – Lena Mitchell and Sheena Barnett/Daily Journal.

3:09 p.m. – From The Associated Press –
ASHLAND — A weather system packing wind, rain and possible tornadoes killed three in Mississippi on Sunday, about week after a deadly twister left 10 dead in another part of the state.

Gov. Haley Barbour has declared a state of emergency for Benton, Lafayette, Panola, Tippah and Union counties, where heavy downpours and strong winds damaged numerous homes and flooded streets. Thousands were without power.

Latoya Long, 25, and Thomas Catrell Cowan, 26, were killed when their mobile home was blown apart by winds after 2:30 a.m. Sunday, said John Riles, the coroner in Benton County, which borders Tennessee.

“It looks like you stuck about four sticks of dynamite on it and it just disappeared,” Riles said of the home. “There was a two-story house across the road and it didn’t leave the foundation. If you didn’t know the house was there, you’d just think it was a vacant lot.”

William Tipler, 68, and his son escaped their home unharmed, even though the structure was badly damaged.

“We were laying in bed when the roof came off,” Tipler said.

About 50 miles away in Abbeville in Lafayette County, another person was killed. Lafayette County Emergency Management Agency coordinator David Shaw said the person’s home was demolished by the storm. Shaw wouldn’t release the victim’s name, pending notification of relatives.

Heavy rainfall hampered cleanup efforts in Benton County, where hundreds of trees were toppled or their tops snapped off.

Shaw about 20 homes had been damaged and some trees were down, but otherwise there was no major destruction.

The National Weather Service was surveying damage in Abbeville and Benton County to determine whether tornadoes had been spawned by the system, said Marlene Mickelson, a meteorologist in the agency’s Memphis, Tenn., office.

The system developed across Mississippi and moved into Tennessee, where six people were killed, said Mickelson. She said the system was a tornado supercell — individual storms — that caused the probable tornadoes in Mississippi.

She said flooding was reported across northeast Mississippi on Sunday. The rain was expected to move out of the state by Sunday night, and the threat of more tornadoes was minimal, Mickelson said.

The powerful weather system comes on the heels of a killer tornado that struck parts of central Mississippi on April 24. The twister left 10 people dead in Choctaw, Yazoo and Holmes counties.

“We’re moving into the recovery phase of last weekend’s storms. Of course, we lost three more lives,” said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeff Rent. “While we are spread thin, we’re getting it done.”

Rent said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was assisting with the recovery from the April twister, and state partner agencies were mobilized for the latest weather emergency.

MEMA personnel were deployed to Benton County. The agency sent tarps to Benton and Lafayette counties.

The Tippah Electric Power Association reported 4,500 outages in Tippah County and 500 outages in Benton County. Northeast Mississippi Electric Power Associated said there were 1,200 outages in Lafayette County and 160 in Marshall County.

Ron Stewart, spokesman for the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi, didn’t know how soon the power would be restored.

2:46 p.m. – Old Saltillo Road has been closed to allow some flood waters to go down. It is expected to be open again later this evening. – Danza Johnson.

2:30 p.m. – Gov. Haley Barbour has declared a State of Emergency in Lafayette, Union, Tippah, Benton and Panola Counties.

2:13 p.m. – Flood waters are almost up to tractor supply in Corinth, which is located next to a creek. On US Hwy 72 Harper Square Mall Parking lot flooded. Saw two vehicles totaled. Difficult driving due to water everywhere. Walmart park lot standing in water. Belk store is flooded. – Pam Maness from the NEMS Daily Journal advertising department tells us.

2:10 p.m. – Flooding update in Tupelo from reporter Carlie Kollath. Mill Village has gotten heavy flooding on South Church Street. Kings Creek is flooding and causing residents problems. Town Creek swollen under bridge at South Green in Tupelo. Fast moving and stinks like sewage.

1:57 p.m. – Errol Castens reports from Ashland – Officials think the two confirmed deaths are the only fatalities. They said everyone else is accounted for, although several people were sent to hospitals.

Around the town, tops of pine trees, snapped off by the winds, and insulation were scattered in several spots. Lots of trees were down in path of tornado and a steel high-voltage power line tower was crumpled.

A team from the National Weather Service suspect that the tornado that hit Ashland was the same one that hit Abbeville and killed one person there.

Benton County Coroner John Riles said, “That thing tore down two-story houses like they were matchboxes.”

1:45 p.m. – Report of levee breach at Tallahatchie River north of New Albany. Not confirmed.

Click view slideshow link below photo on the left to see photos of flooding and damage. More coming in.

1:35 p.m. – Daily Journal photography chief Thomas Wells reports that a section of state Highway 4 between Ashland and Holly Springs has collapsed and the the westbound lane is gone. MDOT and law enforcement officials are on the scene.

1:33 p.m. – In Tupelo, North Gloster is closed in front out Outback. It was the scene of two-car accident with one minor injury. Lumpkin Avenue is also closed because of the flooding, police said. – Danza Johnson/Daily Journal.

1:30 p.m. – Brief flash flooding on Jefferson Street in front of All Saints Episcopal Church just before noon. Water rushing down street and water in some yards in Pinecrest subdivision – quite rare. – Lloyd Gray/NEMS Daily Journal

1:21 p.m. – Thomas Street from McDonalds down to Spanish Village office complex is still closed. – Deste Lee/NEMS Daily Journal.

1:07 p.m. – Journal’s Sheena Barnett confirms Corinth’s Crossroads Arena has been opened as a shelter for those with weather damage. More as we get it.

1:06 p.m. – From MarathonKoach Major on Titter – Flashfloods in Corinth. Water 1/4 in from office. Still raining Evacuating some areas via boat.

1:05 p.m. – A few officies at Spanish Village in Tupelo flooded – Deste Lee/Journal.

1 p.m. – Ole Miss and Mississippi State baseball to begin at 1:45 p.m. at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville.

12:42 p.m. – No damage has been reported in Pontotoc County, but much of the county is flooded.
According to 911 dispatch for the county, several roads in the county are impassable and have up to 5 feet of water. These roads are scattered across the county, and some are in Sherman, Ecru and Pontotoc.

Flooding has also been reported throughout Union County.

Roads are flooded all over the county, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Department. A culvert on County Road 2848, near Baldwyn, in Lee County is washed out.

A portion of the Natchez Trace is flooded at Road 900, a caller has advised Lee County Dispatch. – Sheena Barnett/Daily Journal

12:41 p.m. – Bridge is washed on CR 2848 in northeastern part of Lee County near Union community. In Tupelo, part of Thomas Street, just south of Main Street, is closed because of flooding. – Danza Johnson/Daily Journal.

12:17 p.m. – Journal reporter Emily Le Coz tells us a car is submerged on North Gloster. The road is blocked off north of Vanelli’s all the way to Green Street.

12:03 p.m. – Union County Sheriff asking people in that county not to travel unless it is an emergency.

Noon – Parts of South Church Street flooded in downtown Tupelo, Daily Journal reporter Carlie Kollath tells us.

11:58 a.m. – Water up over the sidewalks in Ballard Park. Streets on West Main flooded near Todd’s Big Star. Rain hard in Tupelo right now in western part city, Daily Journal reporter Danza Johnson reports.

11:51 a.m. – Highway 4 about six miles east of Holly Springs is about to wash away according to Daily Journal reporter Errol Castens. It is closed, but now water is doing even more damage.

11:22 a.m. The Associated Press reports – ASHLAND — Benton County Coroner John Riles says two people were killed when severe weather tore through early today.

Riles identified the victims as 25-year-old Latoya Long and 26-year-old Thomas Catrell Cowan. He said the two lived in a mobile home.

Riles said several other people reported injuries after the storm blew through about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. He said it could have been a possible tornado.

The deadly weather comes a week after 10 people in Mississippi and two in Alabama were killed by tornadoes.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeff Rent says he was checking on reports about other injuries in Lafayette County.

11:08 a.m. – National Weather Service team was en route to Abbeville and Ashland after severe early morning weather today caused at least one fatality and widespread destruction.

Phyllis Ann Sabbatini, 45, of Abbeville died after what is believed to be a tornado hit here home, Lafayette County Coroner Rocky Kennedy said. Sabbatini was a substance abuse conselor in Oxford.

A man and a woman were killed in Benton County a half mile east of Ashland on Hwy. 370 when a possible tornado hit their home. They were in a mobile home. No names have been released.

“It looked like you stuck a stick of dynamite under all four corners and blew it up,” said Benton County Coroner Bob Riles.

The tornado hit around 2:30 a.m. and went from east of Ashland on the ground all the way to Tennessee line. Authorities are still looking for people going house to house and having to cut people from homes in some cases.

At the moment Hwy. 370 on the Tippah-Benton County line is closed due to the weather damage. Several road closed in Benton County.

A Tippah County sheriff’s deputy also reports a possible tornado around 2 a.m. a few miles east of Walnut off Hwy 72. Also on north end of County Road 301 at County Road 303.

NEMS Daily Journal newspaper carrier says severe flooding in Holly Springs and lots of destruction in Ashland.

New tornado watch includes Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster & Winston counties until 3 p.m.

The National Weather Service team today will assess damage in both Abbeville and Ashland and will determine if a tornado hit the areas, and if so, the strength of the storm.

The team will visit Ripley on Monday.

>> Click here for weather forecast and radar of storms now. <<

We will have more on this developing story as it is available.

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