Mississippi Tornado
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Mississippi Tornado
Source: Jonathan Sachar @SacharBlake

At least 23 people were killed, dozens injured, and four missing after powerful storms. At least one tornado pummeled Mississippi on Friday night.

“We have numerous local and state search and rescue teams that continue to work this morning. A number of assets are on the ground to assist those impacted,” the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said.

“The loss will be felt in these towns forever. Please pray for God’s hand to be over all who lost family and friends,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves tweeted.

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Search-and-rescue efforts for storm victims began after a confirmed tornado struck Silver City and Rolling Fork. These two towns were badly hit by the tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.

Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker told CNN that his town was essentially wiped out.

“My city is gone. But we are resilient and we are going to come back strong,” he said.

The National Weather Service issued an alert Friday night as the storm was hitting that didn’t mince words: “To protect your life, TAKE COVER NOW!”

“You are in a life-threatening situation,” it warned. “Flying debris may be deadly to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be destroyed. Considerable damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles is likely and complete destruction is possible.”

Cornel Knight told The Associated Press that he, his wife and their 3-year-old daughter were at a relative’s home in Rolling Fork when the tornado struck. He said the sky was dark but “you could see the direction from every transformer that blew.”

He said it was “eerily quiet” as that happened. Knight said he watched from a doorway until the tornado was, he estimated, less than a mile away. Then he told everyone in the house to take cover in a hallway. He said the tornado struck another relative’s home across a wide cornfield from where he was.

A wall in that home collapsed and trapped several people inside. As Knight spoke to AP by phone, he said he could see lights from emergency vehicles at the partially collapsed home.

The Sharkey-Issaquena Community Hospital on the west side of Rolling Fork was damaged, WAPT reported.

According to the Vicksburg News, the Sharkey County Sheriff’s Office in Rolling Fork reported gas leaks and people trapped in piles of rubble.

According to the newspaper, some law enforcement units were unaccounted for in Sharkey.

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