FEB. 19-24, 2019 Severe Storms, Tornadoes and Flooding Information

FEMA & MEMA to Begin Joint Damage Assessments This Week

This week the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and select local emergency management offices will be conducting Joint Damage Assessments in response to the severe storms and flooding that impacted the state from February 19th-24th. For more info click here.


Mississippi Vital Records Representatives to set up again in Columbus on March 8th

The Office of Vital Records personnel will return tomorrow, March 8, from 10 am to 6 pm to deliver Birth Certificates for those who submitted applications on March 6. They will also take applications tomorrow as well however those Birth Certificates will be mailed to applicants. 


Update: Per Tunica County Emergency Management Director Leron Weeks:

Fitz Casino & Hotel, in Tunica County, is temporary closed due to Mississippi River flooding of the access road leading to the Casino. The remaining six casinos in the county are open & operational, at this time. Tunica County Emergency Management is closely monitoring the situation and will give further updates as they become available.


MEMA is assisting the affected counties with initial damage assessments and resource coordination in response to Feb. 23 tornado outbreak. We will provide more information here as we receive it.

The State Emergency Operations Center is activated and monitoring any requests or unmet needs from the county emergency management offices. 

The public is encouraged to report damage to homes or businesses to their county emergency management office. A directory of all the offices can be found at http://www.msema.org/county-ema/


PEARL – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency continues to receive updated damage reports from 40 counties due to severe storms and tornadoes on February 23rd, along with flooding that started on February 19th and is currently ongoing throughout the state.

These damage reports serve only as initial assessments from the county emergency management offices and will change (either higher or lower) as additional reports and assessments are sent to MEMA. 

So far, over 700 residences, close to 500 roads and bridges and 90 businesses are affected statewide.

Initial damage reports by county (assessments ongoing):

    • Alcorn: Assessments ongoing, EF-0 and EF-1 tornado confirmed by National Weather Service – Memphis.
    • Bolivar: Assessments ongoing/delayed due to flood levels.
    • Calhoun: 41 homes, 14 businesses and 53 roads damaged; five public buildings damaged.
    • Carroll: 45 roads, nine bridges and one public building damaged
    • Chickasaw: Two homes, two businesses and 38 roads damaged; nine bridges and one public building damaged
    • Clarke: Two homes damaged, three businesses and two roads damaged.
    • Clay: 72 homes, two businesses, 12 roads and five bridges damaged
    • Coahoma: Two homes, two businesses and 11 roads damaged.
    • Grenada: 115 homes and 20 businesses damaged. More than 50 roads and bridges damaged.
    • Holmes: Two homes, one business and four roads damaged
    • Humphreys: Assessments ongoing
    • Issaquena: One home and five roads damaged.
    • Itawamba: 50 roads damaged.
    • Lafayette: Six homes, three business, 28 roads and one bridge damaged
    • Lee: 49 homes and one business damaged
    • Leflore: 20 homes and 30 roads damaged
    • Lincoln: One home damaged.
    • Lowndes: EF-0 Tornado in Artesia; EF-3 Tornado in Columbus, both confirmed by National Weather Service – Jackson
      • Power restored to the city of Columbus (To those that can receive power)
      • Approximately 100 residences cannot receive power, due to storm damage.
      • 19 injuries reported.
      • 275 homes damaged; 38 businesses damaged; Nine public building damaged
      • MEMA Personnel have been deployed to the city of Columbus and continue resource coordination.
      • To view MEMA Field Services drone footage of the city of Columbus, click here.
    • Madison: Assessments ongoing
    • Monroe: 32 roads damaged, three businesses and 15 bridges damaged
    • Montgomery: 40 roads
    • Noxubee: 30 homes damaged
    • Panola: 18 homes, two businesses and two roads damaged; two public buildings damaged
    • Pontotoc: 11 roads and six bridges damaged
    • Prentiss: 46 roads damaged
    • Quitman: 66 homes and 22 roads damaged
    • Rankin: One home damaged.
    • Sharkey: Three homes and 13 roads damaged.
    • Simpson: One business damaged.
    • Smith: Assessments ongoing
    • Sunflower: Three homes damaged; one farm property damaged.
    • Tallahatchie: 40 homes damaged; multiple apartments affected; two businesses and 40 roads damaged.
    • Tishomingo: EF-2 Tornado confirmed by National Weather Service – Memphis
      • 11 homes, 38 roads and two bridges damaged
    • Tunica: Assessments ongoing
    • Union: 22 roads damaged
    • Warren: Assessments ongoing
    • Washington: 25 homes and 31 roads damaged
    • Webster: One home and 65 roads damaged; three bridges damaged
    • Yalobusha: Eight roads and one bridge damaged
    • Yazoo: Assessments ongoing


Open Shelters:

  • Lowndes County: Townsend Community Center – 826 15th Street, Columbus, MS 39701


Volunteer Reception Center:

Unaffiliated Volunteers looking to serve in the Columbus/Lowndes County area should register with the Volunteer Reception Center in Columbus.  The Center is operated by “Volunteer Columbus”.  Lowndes County/Columbus leadership is asking that volunteers do not go out in the community without first checking in at the Volunteer Reception Center.

  • Location: Trotter Convention Center- 402 2nd Avenue North, Columbus, MS 39701
  • Hours:
  • Monday-Friday: 8AM-6PM for Survivors, 8AM-4PM for Volunteers
  • Saturday: 9AM-3PM (Both survivors and volunteers)


Volunteer Organizations in the field (Statewide and in the City of Columbus):

  • Mississippi Volunteers After a Disaster (MS VOAD), Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Eight Days of Hope, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), United Way, Volunteer Columbus, Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief, Convoy of Hope, Team Hope-Assemblies of God, Mississippi Response Network, Catholic Charities.
  • All organizations are engaged in clean up, debris removal, chainsaw cutting, tarping and feeding support.


Mississippi Civil Defense and Emergency Management Association (MCDEMA)

  • Emergency Managers have been assisting their county neighbors/partners in damage assessments and resource sharing, through the Statewide Mutual Aid Compact (SMAC)
  • SMAC provides a plan/agreement for cities and counties to request and receive assistance from each other when local resources are exhausted.


MEMA Resources Deployed:

  • Personnel deployed to affected areas for damage assessments, staffing of county emergency management offices, resident assistance and asset delivery.
  • Personnel deployed to affected areas to capture/track unmet needs of residents (temporary housing/shelters, feeding, etc.).
  • Drones with pilots to provide aerial capability in damage assessments, click here.
  • 70,000 sandbags delivered to more than 10 counties statewide
  • More than 200 tarps to Lowndes and Tishomingo Counties


Governor Phil Bryant signed and declared a State of Emergency on February 25th in response to the damage caused statewide by severe weather. A State of Emergency is an administrative tool that authorizes the use of state resources to aid in response and recovery efforts.

The State Emergency Operations Center is activated and monitoring any requests or unmet needs from the county emergency management offices.

The public is encouraged to report damage to homes or businesses to their county emergency management office. A directory of all the offices can be found at http://www.msema.org/county-ema/

MEMA will provide updates as information becomes available. The best way to get up-to-date information during this event is to “Like” MEMA on Facebook, or “Follow” us on twitter @msema.


Residents urged to use caution when operating chainsaws and portable generators

PEARL- In the wake of multiple severe weather and tornado outbreaks, many Mississippi residents are operating chainsaws to remove debris and running portable generators until power is restored in affected areas.  The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) would like to remind people who are utilizing this equipment to operate it safely.

Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe when using a chainsaw:

  • Operate, adjust and maintain the saw according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Properly sharpen chainsaw blades and properly lubricate the blade.
  • Choose the proper size of chainsaw to match the job.
  • Wear the appropriate protective equipment including a hard-hat, safety glasses and protective clothing.
  • Avoid power lines.
  • Bystanders should remain at least two tree lengths or 150 feet away.
  • Beware of injury from bent trees or branches.

Here are some additional tips when operating a portable generator:

  • Never use a generator inside a building.
  • Follow the instructions that come with your generator.
  • Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector inside of your home or dwelling.
  • Operate the generator is a dry place as moisture can increase the risk of shock or electrocution.
  • Connect appliances to the generator using heavy-duty extension cords designed for outdoor use.
  • Never try to power the house by plugging the generator into a wall outlet.
  • Before refueling a generator, turn it off and let it cool down to avoid an accidental fire.

Any injuries requiring more than minor first aid should be treated by a medical professional. Call 9-1-1 for immediate medical care.

MEMA asks the public to report any damages to their local emergency management office.  For a full list of contact numbers for your county, visit http://www.msema.org/county-ema/.

 The best way to get up-to-date information is to “Like” MEMA @msemaorg on Facebook, or “Follow” us on Twitter, @msema.