A band of strong thunderstorms rolled across Mississippi yesterday, wreaking havoc from Yazoo City, in the north of the state, to Ocean Springs, on the coast. The storms spawned a number of tornadoes, and some those turned deadly.
Mile wide tornado kills at least 10
A tornado caused by the storm system ravaged the town of Yazoo City. According to a report by CNN.com, the tornado killed at least 10 and rescue crews were going to try and reach more harder hit areas in the morning daylight. It is feared that additional deaths will be discovered when the crew get there.
Governor Haley Barbour, according to an Associated Press report in the Sun Herald, described the scene as “Utter obliteration.” Governor Barbour has declared the area is in a “State of Emergency” and has authorized the use of the Mississippi National Guard to support local civil authorities in the recovery of the area.
Various states of damage reported to Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
As damage reports continue to stream in, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has tried to consolidate the damages into a manageable list so that emergency and first responders can evaluate their response.
Other than Yazoo City, Warren, Mississippi reports that 30 homes have been destroyed, and two roads completely blocked by debris. Residents of Choctaw County report that numerous homes, trees and power lines have been knocked down. Several roads had been closed due to debris, including Mississippi Highway 433 and 14, as well as Interstate 55. As of this writing, Mississippi Highway 14 and Interstate 55 have been reopened for traffic.
Severe weather avoids southern Mississippi, but brings much needed rain
In south Mississippi, the storm system brought needed rain to the area. Although some local events, such as Ocean Springs Weekend of Discovery events, which kicked off on April 24, were a cast in the storm’s shadow, all events went on as planned. Some organizers were hoping for a larger turnout, but knew that the forecasted rain had played a factor in keeping patrons at home.
Storms hamper oil spill cleanup
The storms did hamper the efforts of cleanup crews trying to halt the spread of an oil slick from the sunken Deepwater Horizon, an offshore oil rig that exploded with a fire on Thursday. The airflow from the storm system began pulling the oil slick close to the Louisiana and Mississippi coast, but with the cleanup effort being limited until the storms are out of the area, residents are still concerned for the ecological disaster that still might come.
In a press release from the U.S. Coast Guard Sunday morning, oil was found leaking from the well pipe once used by the sunken oil rig. A few days ago, the oil slick was a mere five miles by one mile in size, but as of this morning, the oil slick is 20 miles by 20 miles in size. British Petroleum continues to promise that the oil slick will be cleaned up before it reaches the coastline.