COLUMBUS, Mississippi—The National Weather Service says it’s still checking out damage from the weekend’s worst tornado strike in Mississippi, but now has confirmed another twister hit in the same general region as the damaging twister in Columbus.
It says an EF-0 tornado with 85-mph winds touched down in Artesia, Mississippi, at 4:53 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, uprooting and snapping several trees and tearing away roofs from a mobile home and a tin shed.
Artesia is a town of about 430 people. It’s about 20 miles east-southeast of Columbus, a city of 24,000, where a large area was damaged Saturday.
Columbus spokesman Joe Dillon says several homes, an empty two-story school and two city community centers were destroyed, along with some businesses in a strip mall.
“There was pretty extensive damage,” Dillon says. “But the streets today have been filled with workers and volunteers, all working hard to clean up the mess.”
The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management says the number of power outages from high winds has risen to more than 50,000 customers in that Appalachian state.
The National Weather Service says some areas of the state are expected to have winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 65 mph. The weather service also says the high winds are expected to knock down trees and power lines and could make travel difficult.
Building Collapsed, Killing A Woman
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says early damage reports indicate that at least 300 homes, 190 roads and bridges and 30 businesses in 20 counties were damaged by weekend storms.
A news release Sunday notes that another 15 counties are still surveying damage—including Lowndes County, where a tornado hit, killing a woman, injuring 12 people and causing widespread destruction.
— James Spann (@spann) February 24, 2019
The tornado was confirmed on radar, said meteorologist Anna Wolverton with the National Weather Service in Jackson.
The mayor’s office in Columbus, Mississippi, confirmed the death in a statement on Facebook, citing information from Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant.
The statement said 41-year-old Ashley Glynell Pounds of Tupelo was with three other people in a building that collapsed in the storm Saturday evening. It said Pounds was taken to a hospital and died in surgery. The statement gave no information on the condition of the others in the building.
OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM LOWNDES COUNTY CORONER GREG MERCHANT:Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant has identified a…
Emergency Due To Flooding
Magoffin County issued a declaration late Saturday asking residents to stay off the roads unless in an emergency and to seek higher ground if necessary.
Magoffin County Judge-Executive Matt Wireman told WYMT-TV that residents of Salyersville Nursing and Rehab were evacuated to a school building due to high water.
High water threatening homes in Magoffin County. This is the Half Mountain area. pic.twitter.com/McVA0GiydA
— Jim Caldwell (@JimWKYT) March 4, 2015
The station reports Martin, Jackson and Johnson counties have declared states of emergency due to flooding.
Officials in some eastern Kentucky counties are also declaring emergencies due to heavy flooding and mudslides.
Kentucky transportation officials are preparing to close a portion of U.S. 23 in Floyd County due to an impending mudslide. The agency says they are letting northbound vehicle pass one at a time, but they are in the process of turning one of the southbound lanes into a northbound lane.
The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management says officials have evacuated 11 families in the southern part of the state from low-lying areas due to flooding from heavy rains.
A statement from the agency says Wayne County emergency management agencies are in the field Sunday assessing property impacts and shelter needs.
Floods Cause Death Of Tennessee Man
Authorities in Tennessee say a man has died after his vehicle became submerged in high water fed by heavy rains in a weekend storm.
The Knox County Sheriff’s office says emergency crews were dispatched early Sunday to the flooded roadway and several agencies worked together to get the man out of his vehicle and take him to a hospital, but he was later pronounced dead. His identity wasn’t released.
Tennessee’s Governor Lee has declared a State of Emergency for the whole state after Saturday’s unprecedented flooding. Every county is reporting flooding, with Knoxville recording over 5″ of rain today alone, setting a new record for one-day rainfall for the city. #tnwx pic.twitter.com/3xYjp9CJqM
— WeatherTAP (@weatherTAP) February 24, 2019
Jeffrey Bagwell of Rural Metro told the Knoxville News Sentinel that witnesses said they tried yelling at the man as he drove into the water, which covered most of his car.