Severe Weather Recovery Update : Wed. 12:30p.m.

PEARL – Updated damage reports to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency show a total of more than 1,200 homes damaged in eight counties, 549 of them were destroyed or sustained major damage.  There were also four confirmed deaths and 59 injuries from tornadoes and severe storms on Jan 21-22.

Gov. Phil Bryant sent an official request for a Federal Disaster Declaration to President Donald J. Trump Monday night. The request is for Individual Assistance to help affected residents in Forrest, Lamar, Lauderdale and Perry counties. The request is still pending approval.

A breakdown of damage by county:

  • Forrest: Four deaths and 56 injuries. 499 homes destroyed/major damage, 632 minor/affected.
    • These damage numbers have changed based on further information from the county.
  • Franklin: One home major damage and two bridges destroyed, one road with major damage.
  • Jones: One injury, one home destroyed, two with minor damage.
  • Lamar: 26 homes destroyed/major damage, 52 minor. Two roads major damage.
  • Lauderdale: One injury, 10 homes, one business and one farm building destroyed/major damage, 11 homes minor damage.
  • Perry: One injury, six homes destroyed/major damage, five homes minor damage.
  • Pike: One home destroyed, five with minor damage.
  • Wilkinson: One home with minor damage and seven roads with minor damage.

The National Weather Service in Jackson confirmed an EF-3 tornado struck portions of Lamar and Forrest counties, and an EF-2 touched town in Lauderdale County. NWS Mobile ruled an EF-2 tornado struck Perry County.

There are an estimated 800 residents without power, mostly in the Hattiesburg area, according to the Dixie Electric Power Association.

The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated with MEMA and key state agencies coordinating resources to the affected areas.

MS Department of Human Services & American Red Cross:

  • Forrest County 361 Saferoom/Shelter: 52 occupants reported; MS Department of Mental Health has a crisis team on site to assist with any potential needs.
  • MDHS provided SNAP replacement benefits and issued applications to potential new clients.

MS Department of Mental Health:

  • Mobile Crisis Team continues to provide help to Pine Belt Mental Health affected clients.
  • Representatives are on standby to assist in checking the addresses of affected homes against the list of individuals served by the Medicaid IDD Waiver program to ensure resident safety.

American Red Cross:

  • ARC has mobile feeding units in Lamar, Forrest and Perry counties.
  • ARC also has “Points of Presence” Units:
    • 823 Edwards Street, Hattiesburg (Open 12pm-5pm)
    • Jerusalem Baptist Church, 410 S. Tipton Street, Hattiesburg (Open 12pm-5pm)
  • Casework team in Lauderdale County with Disaster Mental Health and Health  Services.
  • Preparing for Direct Client Assistance.
  • Six Emergency Response Vehicles serving routes in affected.

Salvation Army:

  • Two mobile kitchens and three catering trucks deployed throughout the Pine Belt area.

MS Department of Public Safety:

  • MS Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks assigned 10 Special Response Team (SRT) officers to Hattiesburg Police Department.
  • Mississippi Highway Patrol has 20 troopers in the city of Petal and eight assisting William Carey University.

MS National Guard:

  • 22 National Guardsmen deployed to Forrest County assisting law enforcement.

MS Department of Health:

  • Administering Tetanus shots in the affected areas at county Health Dept. offices.
  • Environmental inspections of shelters, restaurants and feeding stations in affected areas.

 MS Department of Education:

  • Working with the Petal School District on the two damaged schools (Pearl Primary & Upper Elementary).
  • Petal School District is back in session with a 94% attendance rate.

MS Department of Environmental Quality:

  • Coordinating with all affected counties on debris management and disposal plans.

MS Emergency Management Agency:

  • Six generators provided to Forrest County.
  • 3,000 tarps and 1,500 bottles of water delivered to affected areas.
  • Eight Disaster Reservists activated.

 Gov. Phil Bryant declared a State of Emergency and signed an executive order to authorize use of the National Guard on January 21st.

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.

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