Mississippi Governor Warns More Severe Weather Could Hit State After Deadly Tornadoes

Katabella Roberts
By Katabella Roberts
March 27, 2023Weather
Mississippi Governor Warns More Severe Weather Could Hit State After Deadly Tornadoes
Residents are pictured trying to recover possessions and secure homes that were damaged two days after a deadly tornado in Rolling Fork, Miss., on March 26, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has warned that more severe storms could be on the way after recent tornadoes left dozens of people dead.

Speaking at a press conference in the hard-hit town of Rolling Fork on March 27, Reeves said, “What we’ve seen, much like the storm that occurred here Friday night, is in the 24–36 hours that are leading up to this afternoon, it appears that the risks seem to be getting worse and worse, not better.”

Reeves added that there were “significant risks” to anyone living south of Interstate 55.

“And when you stand here and see this, what feels like a beautiful weather day in Mississippi, please be aware and please know: if you are south of I-55 in Mississippi today, there are significant risks. We are prepared,” he said.

Despite further possible storms on the horizon, the governor said that the state is prepared for further “potential severe weather” and that officials are monitoring the situation “very closely.”

Multiple tornadoes ripped through the states of Mississippi and Alabama starting on Friday, uprooting trees, destroying buildings, and overturning vehicles.

At least 25 people were killed in Mississippi and dozens more are injured, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

Power Outages Ongoing

“Search and rescue efforts are ongoing. The fatalities are reported in Sharkey, Humphreys, Carroll, and Monroe counties,” MEMA said. In a separate update on Twitter, the agency said that four people previously reported missing had since been found.

Meanwhile, one person, identified as a 67-year-old man, was killed in neighboring Alabama when he became trapped under a trailer that flipped during the storms, the Morgan County Emergency Management Agency confirmed to local news outlet AL.com.

Approximately 22,313 customers are currently without power in Mississippi and 12,452 are without power in Alabama, according to PowerOutage.us. Hundreds of residents have also been displaced.

Based on initial data, the tornado received a preliminary EF-4 rating on the Enhanced Fujita scale—suggesting winds of up to 200 mph—the National Weather Service office in Jackson said late Saturday, adding that it had traveled approximately 59 miles, beginning in Issaquena County and ending in Holmes County.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden on Sunday issued a major disaster declaration in Mississippi granting supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the tornadoes, according to a White House statement.

FEMA Aiding in Recovery Efforts

Also on Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell visited the devastated areas of the state where they vowed that the two agencies would stay there for as long as needed to aid in both the response and recovery efforts.

“FEMA is here. We remain committed to the people of Mississippi,” Criswell said during a news conference in Rolling Fork. “We will be here for you now, we will be with you next week, we will be here long after these cameras are gone to make sure we are assisting you with all your recovery needs.”

FEMA has deployed Disaster Survivor Assistance teams, an Incident Management Assistance Team, and several other staff to the state emergency operations center and affected areas, according to a release.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a high-risk outlook for excessive rainfall in Alabama and Georgia through Monday morning, including parts of Atlanta, and warns of potential flash flooding.

Tornado watches were also posted across parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana overnight Sunday.

In a forecast discussion issued on March 27, NWS said storms will “likely be ongoing Monday morning near the boundary across portions of central Alabama and Georgia.” Scattered thunderstorms are expected to continue in the coming days across Mississippi.

From The Epoch Times