Meridian Star

Local News

March 4, 2008

Severe storms hit Mississippi

JACKSON (AP) — A storm system passing through Mississippi on Monday spawned at least one tornado and is being blamed for severely damaging two homes in Amite County.

A tornado touched down briefly around 4 p.m. in western Mississippi’s Sharkey County near Holly Bluff and Rolling Fork, but there were few sightings of funnel clouds as high, sustained winds buffeted the state.

High winds are blamed on the damage in Amite County near Liberty, National Weather Service senior meteorologist Mike Edmonston said, but a storm survey team will check the site Tuesday to determine if the damage was actually caused by a tornado.

Five other Amite County homes suffered heavy damage, though no injuries were reported to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

The advancing storm system spawned tornado warnings across central and south Mississippi and eastern Louisiana. It packed high winds, lightning, heavy rain and some hail and was expected to cross through the state Monday night. Cold weather behind the front prompted snow warnings for some parts of northern Mississippi.

The weather service warned of the possibility of large hail and gusts reaching 80 miles per hour in the larger thunderstorms.

Flash flood warnings also were issued in parts of north central and south central Mississippi with up to 3 1/2 inches of rain reported in some areas.

The first tornado warnings associated with the system were posted during the afternoon in south Mississippi, but the storms seemed to weaken as they headed toward Alabama late Monday.

The growing threat prompted the rescheduling of afternoon and evening events around the state. Mississippi State University said Monday night’s debate involving 3rd District congressional candidates for the March 11 primary election had been canceled.

Flights out of Jackson-Evers International Airport were canceled or delayed as well.



AP-CS-03-03-08 2254EST

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