Meridian Star

April 16, 2013

Recovery continues after tornado

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Residents of Kemper and Noxubee counties are continuing to pick up the pieces of their lives in the aftermath of a deadly tornado Thursday.     

    American Red Cross volunteers are in both counties assisting residents, according to Selena Standifer, who is the communications officer for the North Mississippi American Red Cross, Mississippi Region, out of Tupelo.

    "Red Cross health services and mental health workers continue to meet with families that have disaster-caused health and emotional needs," Standifer stated in a press release issued Monday afternoon. "Red Cross is also working with community partners and agencies to identify appropriate resources for any remaining emergency needs."

    Ben Dudley, director of the Kemper County Emergency Management Agency in DeKalb, said his team's survey of Kemper County homes impacted by the storm stood at 27. He said nine homes were totally destroyed with the others sustaining various degrees of damage.

    One person, Carlos Madrigal, 28, of Blue Mountain, was identified as the lone fatality, according to Kemper County Coroner Terry Bostick. Dudley said nine other people were reported injured.

    Madrigal was an employee at Contract Fabricators Inc., a company that builds main components for the Mississippi Power lignite coal power plant. The power plant itself, located on Highway 493, was not hit by the tornado, said Jeff Shepard, a Mississippi Power spokesperson. But the facility in which Madrigal was killed, also located on Highway 493 in the Moscow community northeast of the main power plant site, was directly in the crosshairs of the twister.

    According to a storm survey report issued by the National Weather Service in Jackson, the EF3 tornado with winds of up to 145 mph and a base of 3/4 of a mile, first touched down around 11:30 a.m. Thursday in southwest Kemper County three miles southwest of the Damascus community.

    The report states the storm tracked north-northeast through much of Kemper and Noxubee County then into Pickens County Alabama, three miles east-northeast of Ethelsville.

    The most intense damage occurred in five locations along the 56-mile path through eastern Mississippi, said the report. The NWS survey report shows that the tornado fluctuated from EF1 to EF3 throughout its track northeast with it being an EF2 for most of the time it was on the ground.

    The Red Cross is providing individual service delivery through client casework this week.

    “Red Cross caseworkers are still in the impacted neighborhoods helping individuals with immediate, disaster-related needs by meeting with them one-on-one to provide guidance and support during their recovery process,” said Cheryl Kocurek, of the American Red Cross disaster services.