Mississippi tornadoes cause death, damage

Maggie Eubanks, News Editor

On Friday night, a line of storms produced a series of tornadoes throughout Mississippi and Alabama that killed over 25 people. 

According to NPR, President Biden dispatched an emergency response from FEMA on Saturday after seeing pictures from the Mississippi and Alabama towns.

Lance Perrilloux, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service, said the rare “long-track tornado” touched down in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, before continuing northeast through Silver City and Winona. 

The tornado left a trail of destruction 170 miles long and lasted a little over an hour, according to the NWS. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said he was working with FEMA to ensure the best response possible for those affected.

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

According to USA Today, Seventh Street in Rolling Fork has 20 homes, and all were complete losses. Residents said they huddled in bathtubs and closets, with workers from a local diner huddling inside a deep freezer until the tornado passed. 

Biden said he is in contact with both Gov. Reeves and FEMA. 

“The images from across Mississippi are heartbreaking,” Biden said. “While we are still assessing the full extent of the damage, we know that many of our fellow Americans are not only grieving for family and friends, they’ve lost their homes and businesses.”

Owner of Chuck’s Dairy Bar in Rolling Fork, Tracy Harden, attested to this saying her diner was a total loss. 

In addition to FEMA services, Reeves issued a state of emergency for all the counties and towns affected by the tornado due to the ongoing search and rescue efforts.

USA Today reported that in some Alabama towns, police were going door-to-door to check on residents and ensure their safety. 

Local government officials say they expect the death toll to rise, but Mayor Eldridge Walker said he knows his town of Rolling Fork will recover.

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