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April 12, 2013

Storm damage assessments continue in Miss.

SHUQUALAK, Miss. — Damage assessments were continuing Friday after a deadly tornado and other severe weather pounded Mississippi and other states.

In Kemper County, where one person died and five were injured, Emergency Management Agency director Ben Dudley said officials hope to have a better understanding of the amount of damage later Friday.

Dudley said at least 15 homes and structures were damaged by a tornado that swept through Thursday in his county, but those numbers could go up.

Dudley said one person was killed and another injured at a business called Contract Fabricators Inc. in Kemper County. He said five other people in the county were injured, one seriously.

Noxubee County Emergency Management Agency Director Bobby Mann said a few people in his county had minor injuries like cuts and bruises.

He said damage assessments would have to continue Friday because some roads in the county were too flooded to get through Thursday. He said the tornado went the length of the county.

A family in Shuqualak in Noxubee County said two of their relatives were taken to a hospital when the home they were in was blown apart.

Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency in Kemper and Noxubee counties late Thursday. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said there's damage in at least five counties.

The National Weather Service planned to send crews to Kemper County to study damage patterns in order to measure the storm's strength.

In Shuqualak, Kathy Coleman, 57, said she was outside her home signing for a delivery of her dialysis medication when the deliveryman hustled her back in to the house. Coleman said she, the deliveryman and her housekeeper huddled in the bathroom as the storm hit.

"All I could hear was trees breaking and falling and glass. He started praying and I started praying. Thank God he was here," she said.

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