At least 24 people died after a tornado touched down in Mississippi just after sunset Friday in a storm system that brought twisters, heavy rain, gusty winds and hail as it traveled across the South.
The storm system tore through Mississippi and produced a tornado that touched down and caused catastrophic damage to communities across the state. In Rolling Fork, a rural town about 60 miles northwest of the state capital of Jackson, what were once buildings are now scattered piles of rubble. The twister moved northeast, devastating rural communities.
The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down about 60 miles northeast of Jackson, Mississippi. Silver City and Rolling Fork were reporting destruction as the tornado continued to move northeast at 70 mph, moving toward Alabama through cities including Winona and Amory into the night.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said in a Twitter post Friday night that search and rescue teams were active and officials were sending more ambulances and emergency resources to victims.
“Many in MS Delta need your prayers and God’s protection tonight,” the post said. “Watch the weather report and stay alert all night, Mississippi!”
Now, officials are appealing for help as residents survey the damage in the wake of the storm According to poweroutage.us, thousands of people in the region are still without power.
“Every road in this town is gone,” said Roger Cummings of Silver City, who said his nephew died in the storm.
Forecasters have been warning of severe weather outbreaks for days, even launching a weather balloon on Thursday. Damaging storms are expected to bring deadly twisters to the region on Thursday and Friday
In southern Missouri, a car with six teenagers inside was swept away by floodwaters. Two of them did not survive.
At least two tornadoes touched down in North Texas on Friday with winds of over 100 mph.
Eric Huntley excavated what remained of his house.
“As soon as I got the warning I went outside to look and then I heard howling,” he said of the storm. “I’ll never forget that word.”