PEARL – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has confirmed seven deaths from the severe weather than began moving through the state early Wednesday morning, and preliminary reports indicate damage in seven counties from the storms.
Four deaths were reported in Benton County, two in Marshall County and one in Tippah County. In addition, one person is unaccounted for in Benton County.
Governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency for Benton, Coahoma, Marshall, Panola, Prentiss, Quitman and Tippah counties and other affected areas of the state. The declaration allows local governments to request state assistance with response and recovery.
The storms caused widespread damage to houses, mobile homes and public structures. More than 1,400 power outages have been reported as of Thursday morning, and weather-related debris forced numerous road closures in the affected counties.
Additional damage assessments are ongoing. The National Weather Service will investigate and confirm reports of tornadoes.
Three shelters are open in Mississippi:
- Coahoma: Clarksdale Auditorium, 506 E. Second Street, Clarksdale.
- Marshall: Marshall County Multi-Purpose Building, 185 N. Memphis Street, Holly Springs.
- Tippah: Harmony Baptist Church, 28840 Hwy 15, Walnut.
MEMA has deployed Area Coordinators to counties reporting damages to assist. The State Emergency Operations Center has been partially activated with key agencies to assist with the response to the storms.
To volunteer or donate to help those affected by Wednesday’s storms, go to www.msdisasterresponse.org. You can register to volunteer or even make monetary donations.
Gov. Bryant has been in contact with MEMA leadership about the state’s response to the storms, and visited the State Emergency Operations Center this morning to get an update on the response and recovery. He toured the damage area in Marshall and Benton counties this afternoon.
MEMA will provide updates as information becomes available. The best way to get up-to-date information is to “Like” MEMA on Facebook, or “Follow” us on twitter.