7 people killed in Mississippi tornado
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant on Thursday mourned the loss of seven people killed in tornadoes in his and in other U.S. southern states.
Amateur video shot by Melissa S. Farris near Como, Mississippi, caught one of the tornadoes as it moved across Interstate 55, turning over a tractor-trailer.
“By the grace of God, the driver and I both walked away. Merry Christmas!” Farris wrote in an email to Reuters.
In Benton County, Bryant choked up while talking about the dead.
“In that one evening from about 4:30 pm, 14 different tornadoes moved about 150 miles across Mississippi, took seven lives,” Bryant said.
“It is difficult, particularly this time of year, to see such damage and know that heart breaks go along with that damage, that families have lost loved ones. Seven Mississippians have been lost in this storm. The funerals will be planned. But this should be a joyous holiday season, and it will not be for many,” he said, his voice breaking.
With about 100 million Americans expected to travel over the Christmas holidays, the National Weather Service forecast isolated severe thunderstorms from the mid-Atlantic region to the Gulf Coast and record warmth to New York.
The storm system on Wednesday packed high winds and triggered more than 20 tornadoes in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, authorities said.
A large tornado tore a 160-km path through northern Mississippi, demolishing or heavily damaging dozens of homes and other buildings in a six-county area before plowing into western Tennessee, authorities said.
Bryant, who declared a state of emergency for seven of the state’s counties, said more bad weather was expected.
Three people died in Tennessee and one in Arkansas, according to authorities.
Thirteen counties in Tennessee reported damage, with a post office destroyed and a state highway washed out. Up to 15 homes were damaged in McNairy County, the state emergency management office said.
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