Meridian Star

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December 27, 2012

Christmas storms cause minor local damage

MERIDIAN —     According to David Sharp, executive director of the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency (LEMA), a storm that moved through the area Christmas Day caused some minor damage to a few homes in southern Lauderdale County.

    Sharp said the storm cell was associated with a line of strong storms that moved through the state, spawning almost 40 confirmed tornadoes in Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

    Sharp said shingles were blown off of some roofs and large limbs that fell caused damage to others. He said at one home the metal roof was peeled back by strong winds that at times gusted to 70 mph. Sharp also said that during the storm, LEMA personnel saw "an impressive rotation of winds" on weather radar.

    "We believe a tornado passed over the area of Mitchum Bottom Road and Highway 45 South but it didn't touch down," Sharp said. "We have evidence of strong, rotational winds but not to the extent that would indicate the tornado actually made it to the ground."

    Sharp said the winds associated with the rotation at times reached 135 knots. A tornado warning was issued for the cell by the National Weather Service in Jackson.

    Around the Clarkdale area, Sharp said a few trees were downed but no serious damage to property was noted. He said there were no injuries reported as a result of the storm.

    Clarke County Sheriff Todd Kemp said he felt the county was blessed not to have any significant damage.

    "We had a couple dead trees get blown over into the roads and the county crews cleaned them up pretty quick," Kemp said. "Other than that we didn't really have anything happen, so we are thankful for that."

    The American Red Cross reported Wednesday that it was responding to damage reported in 10 Mississippi counties, including Lauderdale and Clarke. The other counties listed were Lamar, Forrest, Stone, Pearl River, Wilkinson, Lawrence, Hinds and Jones.

    Disaster Action Team members with Red Cross were available to assist with lodging, food, clothing, health services and emotional support if needed.

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