WEATHER UPDATES: Region avoids brunt of storm

By Staff and wire reports

Northeast Mississippi avoided much of the nation’s weather woes Friday as a line of storms passed through the Southeast.

Reports of hail came out of Prentiss, Calhoun, Tishomingo and Monroe and Chickasaw counties.

Some funnel cloud activity was reported in Monroe County around 3:30 p.m. According to Meteorologist Danny Gant, a National Weather Service team will visit Monroe County today.

He said the team will access at structural damage near the Egypt and White Rock roads, five miles northwest of Aberdeen.

Later on Friday, around 8:45, Gant said there was “a pretty vicious storm rolling through.”
That system reportedly dropped 3-inch orange-sized hail in Chickasaw County. It also dropped golf ball-sized hail in Itawamba and southeastern Lee County.

Prentiss County EMA Director Ralph Lauderdale said there was a report in Baldwyn that part of a tin roof had blown off First Baptist Church, and there had been reports of hail as large as a half-dollar. Wind briefly gusted to 70 mph, he said. Lee County EMA Director Lee Bowdry said the only reports he received were of a few trees fallen across a couple streets and the church in Baldwyn.

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Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee & Monroe counties until 9:15 p.m.

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Damage report from National Weather Service …

BALDWYN LEE – ROOF BLOWN OFF BAPTIST CHURCH AND STRUCTURAL DAMAGE TO A HOME ON 4TH ST IN THE SAND HILL AREA.

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From National Weather Service …

0545 PM TORNADO EGYPT CHICKASAW MS TRAINED SPOTTER TORNADO APPEARED ON FRONT EDGE OF BOW APEX AS IT CROSSED HIGHWAY 45.

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Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Monroe County until 7:30pm

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Damage reports from National Weather Service …

0530 PM TREBLOC TREES ON CARS AND CARS BLOWN OFF ROAD IN CHICKASAW COUNTY. REPORT RELAYED FROM NWS JACKSON.

0530 PM S HOUSTON CHICKASAW MS TRAINED SPOTTER ESTIMATED 70 MPH WIND.

0530 PM S HOUSTON CHICKASAW, MS TRAINED SPOTTER NUMEROUS TREES DOWN AND AWNINGS ON TRAILORS RIPPED OFF.

0531 PM HAIL BALDWYN 1 INCH HAIL

0540 PM FUNNEL CLOUD HOUSTON CHICKASAW 2 FUNNEL CLOUDS SIGHTED ON HIGHWAY 45 ALTERNATE.

0540 PM HOUSTON SEVERAL TREES DOWN IN SOUTHERN CHIKASAW COUNTY.

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Full Description: THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MEMPHIS HAS ISSUED A TORNADO WARNING FOR SOUTHEASTERN ITAWAMBA COUNTY IN NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI, NORTHERN MONROE COUNTY IN NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI UNTIL 615 PM CST. AT 551 PM CST…NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR WAS TRACKING A TORNADO NEAR NEW WREN OR 6 MILES SOUTHWEST OF AMORY MOVING EAST AT 65 MPH.

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Some Damage reports from the National Weather Service …

0445 PM HAIL CALHOUN CITY CALHOUN MS LAW ENFORCEMENT 1 INCH HAIL AT HWY 8 AND 9 INTERSECTION.

0510 PM HAIL NEW ALBANY MS LAW ENFORCEMENT HAIL DIME TO PENNY SIZE.

0515 PM HAIL NEW ALBANY MS PUBLIC PING PONG SIZED HAIL IN NEW ALBANY ALONG HIGHWAY 30.

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THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MEMPHIS HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR…
EAST CENTRAL CHICKASAW COUNTY IN NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI…
NORTHERN MONROE COUNTY IN NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI…

* UNTIL 600 PM CST

* AT 533 PM CST…NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR TREBLOC…OR 8 MILES
EAST OF HOUSTON…MOVING EAST AT 65 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO AMORY.

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Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Alcorn, Lee, Prentiss, Tippah and Tishomingo County in MS until 6:00 p.m.

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From The Associated Press … JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Tornado warnings have been cropping up in parts of Mississippi but by late afternoon the state had been spared the deadly and damaging weather that has hit other parts of the country.

The National Weather Service says residents should remain diligent because the risk of severe weather will continue into the night with the possibility of hail, strong winds and tornadoes in some areas.

The National Storm Prediction Center said most of Mississippi has a slight to moderate risk of being hit with strong weather.

The National Weather Service says the main threat in Mississippi is in the northeast counties and the east-central part of the state, the same areas hit hard in last April’s outbreak of tornadoes.

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Forecast for tonight …

Tonight: Showers and thunderstorms likely before 9pm. Some storms could be severe, with large hail and damaging winds. Partly cloudy, with a low around 42. North northwest wind between 10 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

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UPDATE 3:54 p.m. – From Daily Journal’s Lena Mitchell … Just checked in with Alcorn, Prentiss, Tippah and Tishomingo counties. So far in Alcorn and Tippah there haven’t been any severe weather reports, not even rain. Prentiss EMA Director Ralph Lauderdale says the Burton community in the southeastern part of the county experienced dime-size hail and 20 mph winds, but no damage reported.

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UPDATE: 3:51 p.m. –
TORNADO WARNING for Itawamba & Monroe Counties has been extended until 4:00 PM. Possible tornado near Splunge, moving E. at 60 mph

Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Benton, Lafayette, Marshall, Panola, Pontotoc, Union [MS] till 4:30 PM CST

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UPDATE: 3:26 p.m. –

Tornado Warning for Itawamba and Monroe County in MS until 3:45pm.

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UPDATE: 3:22 p.m –

HE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MEMPHIS HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR…
EXTREME NORTHWESTERN ALCORN COUNTY IN NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI…
SOUTHEASTERN HARDEMAN COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST TENNESSEE…
SOUTHERN MCNAIRY COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST TENNESSEE…

* UNTIL 345 PM CST

* AT 313 PM CST…NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR POCAHONTAS…OR 9
MILES WEST OF BIG HILL POND STATE PARK…MOVING EAST AT 55 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO SELMER AND
BIG HILL POND STATE PARK.

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UPDATE: 3:14 p.m. – TORNADO WARNING FOR SOUTHERN LOWNDES COUNTY IN NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI UNTIL 330 PM CST AT 256 PM CST…NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR BENT OAK MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH. THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR RURAL EASTERN LOWNDES COUNTY AT 310 PM CST

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UPDATE 2:58 p.m. – AT 243 PM CST NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM PRODUCING A TORNADO 9 MILES WEST OF MICHIGAN CITY OR 14 MILES NORTH OF HOLLY SPRINGS MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH

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From JB Clark of the Daily Journal …

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for Northeast Mississippi.

The watch is expected to last until 9 p.m.
The following counties are under tornado watch: Alcorn, Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee Marshall, Monroe, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union and Yalobusha.

Lee County Emergency Management Agency Director Lee Bowdry said he expects the worst of the weather to hit between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

“People need to make sure they have their emergency supplies together and know where they are going in case of a storm,” Bowdry said. “Have a plan and know where everyone is going to be.”

jb.clark@journalinc.com

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Tornado Watch for following areas until 9 p.m.:

ALCORN
BENTON
CALHOUN
CHICKASAW
ITAWAMBA
LAFAYETTE
LEE
MARSHALL
MONROE
PONTOTOC
PRENTISS
TIPPAH
TISHOMINGO
UNION
YALOBUSHA

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From The Associated Press …

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Authorities and residents in parts of Mississippi that were hit hard by last year’s deadly outbreak of tornadoes are keeping a close watch on the weather with severe storms threatening to hit Friday.

The National Weather Service said there’s a risk of thunderstorms that could produce hail and tornadoes in Mississippi and other states Friday afternoon and overnight. The main threat in Mississippi is in the northeast counties, but there’s also a risk in the east-central part of the state, the same areas hit last April.

“We’re not expecting this event to be as big as that event but it is the same areas,” said Brian Koeneke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson.

Tornadoes that ripped across the South last April killed 35 people in Mississippi, 15 in Monroe County, which borders Alabama. Most of those fatalities were in Smithville, a town of about 900 people that was raked by a tornado with winds topping 205 mph. The twister destroyed Smithville’s only major grocery store, city hall, the police department, schools, the post office and numerous homes and businesses.

Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell said Friday that first responders and shelters are on standby in Monroe County and other areas. But the possibility that storms will hit at night adds to the anxiety because darkness complicates rescue efforts.

Cantrell said people there are more weather-conscious now and many have emergency plans in place.

“Smithville was completely demolished. There’s some rebuilding going on but it’s still just awful,” Cantell said. “We’re all on standby, emergency personnel and law enforcement. We have community shelters. We’re ready to go. Hopefully we won’t get hit.”

A number of schools in threatened areas in Mississippi planned to send students home early due to the possibility that severe weather could hit in the afternoon.

Kemper County was hit by four tornadoes in a 12-day stretch last year, including one that killed three people on April 27.

Ben Dudley, the county’s emergency management director, said he’s making the standard preparations, keeping emergency responders up to date and closely tracking weather developments.

Kemper County is a rural area and many residents live in mobile homes and Dudley said those people should be diligent if weather approaches.

“If you live in a trailer house, get out of it. Make plans up front. That is just one of our biggest deals, we have a lot of trailer homes in our county, and that’s where our people died last year. You need to make plans to get in something more substantial than a trailer. It doesn’t matter if it’s staked down or whatever.”

Koeneke, the forecaster, said the weather is warmer than normal for this time of year, and could break record temperatures, but it’s not unusual to see severe weather the first week of March.

“This is what we expect,” he said.

Koeneke said residents in threatened areas should have a way to receive warnings and other updates, such as a weather radio. He said families also need to have an emergency plan that can be enacted quickly.

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UPDATE: 1:25 p.m. – From JB Clark of the NEMS Daily Journal … Schools have been closed and weather is being closely monitored around Lee County but Lee County Emergency Management Agency Director Lee Bowdry said the county’s has a moderate weather risk late this afternoon.
“We have the moderate risk from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. for Lee County and that’s basically it,” Bowdry said. “It could happen but if any tornadoes do show up, they are predicted to be toward the northern part of the state.”
Lee County has not been placed on tornado watch yet though Bowdry said residents can expect strong winds and rain.
jb.clark@journalinc.com

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UPDATE: 12:37 p.m. – PEARL – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service urge residents to keep a close eye on the weather today and tonight. The current forecast included a risk of severe thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes.

The National Storm Prediction Center has placed most of the state in a slight to moderate risk category for the likelihood of severe storms and tornadoes. Warm moist air ahead of an approaching cold front are some of the key ingredients in place for this event.

“Severe weather including violent thunderstorms and strong tornadoes in Mississippi are not uncommon. Given the severe weather outbreak last spring we know how devastating and deadly these systems can be,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham. “I urge all of our citizens especially those in central and north Mississippi to start preparing now. Ensure that you have discussed your plan with all family members and friends. Reach out to your neighbors, especially those who may be physically handicapped or elderly, and help them prepare as well. This kind of individual, family and community preparedness does save lives.”

Most weather related deaths occur at night while many residents are sleeping. To combat this MEMA and the NWS recommend that every home have a NOAA weather radio or some means of receiving severe weather warnings at their home. The weather radio sounds when a warning is issued for an area and may be purchased at many local retailers for about $30.

MEMA and the NWS also recommend you take the following steps:

– Have a family emergency plan in case a weather warning is issued.

– Check and restock your emergency supply kit in case you are without electricity for an extended period of time.

– Residents in mobile homes, manufactured housing or any type of sub-standard housing should have a safe place to wait out the severe weather.

– When riding in a vehicle never attempt to outrun a tornado. You should abandon the vehicle and get into a nearby ditch or sturdy structure.

In addition to a NOAA weather radio residents should monitor their local media for any forecast updates.

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UPDATE 10:27 a.m. – From Floyd Ingram of the Chickasaw Journal …

Chickasaw County and Houston Schools will let students out at 12:30 p.m. today due to the threat of bad weather.

Okolona schools will dismiss at 12:15 p.m.
Spokesmen at all schools said buses would run at that time and on regular routes. Parents who carry their children to school are urged to make arrangements to pick them up.

The decision to turn schools out was made about 9 a.m. Friday and was based on weather forecasts of strong storms moving across the south Friday afternoon.

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JACKSON — Authorities and residents in parts of Mississippi that were hit by last year’s deadly outbreak of tornados are keeping a close watch on the weather with severe storms threatening to hit Friday.

The National Weather Service says there’s a risk of thunderstorms, hail and tornados in Mississippi and other states Friday afternoon and overnight. The main threat in Mississippi is in northeast and east-central counties, the same areas hit last April.

Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell says first responders and shelters are on standby. Fifteen people in Monroe County died in last year’s tornados, most in Smithville.

Cantrell says people in Smithville are more weather-conscious now and many have emergency plans. But the possibility that storms will hit at night adds to the anxiety because darkness complicates rescue efforts.

Look for updates here all day on the weather conditions in Northeast Mississippi.

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