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Tornado tears through Clarke County

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ENTERPRISE — Bridget Burns held back tears as she pointed to where her childhood bedroom was located.

"Part of this house where the trees are — that was my room," the Clarke County resident said Thursday morning, several hours after a tornado tore through the county, causing extensive damage and leaving thousands without power.

Tornado tears through Clarke County

Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star

A car is covered in limbs and debris after Wednesday night's storm struck the Enterprise area.

 

Burns, who lives three houses down from her grandparents’ home, said she and her daughter took cover when the storm hit late Wednesday night.

"Right when we stepped in the door, it (the storm) shook us. "We dove into my closet," she said. “We didn't want to go any further, we could hear limbs and the only thing we heard was whistling. It sounded like a train."

"Our grandfather built that home from the ground up over 50 years ago for our family, so it’s just a shock,” said Latasha Burns, Bridget Burns’ cousin, who remembered celebrating birthdays and family get-togethers in the home.

“My grandfather and grandmother put out so much work to make sure their family had a legacy,” she said.

Tornado tears through Clarke County

Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star

The Enterprise High School band's travel trailer was overturned and rested between the band hall and baseball field.

Latasha Burns said her aunt and uncle, Gail Burns and Leroy Burns Jr., were in the home, taking cover when the tornado hit. They escaped the storm unharmed, she said.

"We’re very blessed and grateful that no one was seriously hurt," she said.

The tornado touched around 11:30 p.m. in the northwest part of the county, which includes Enterprise, Clarkdale and Basic, said Clarke County Emergency Management Director Eddie Ivy. In addition to downed trees, a local fitness center was damaged, he said. 

Tornado tears through Clarke County

Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star

The Dunn's Falls sign along with several pines and a shed were casualties of Wednesday night's storms at the intersection of Highway 11 and County Road 370.

No injuries or deaths were reported.

Clarke County Emergency Management received numerous damage reports and requested people with damage to call 601-776-2256. 

Ivy said volunteer fire departments, local and state law enforcement agencies and faith-based organizations are all pitching in to help with storm cleanup.

"Anytime when any of your citizens are impacted, the whole community is involved," Ivy said.

Both the Enterprise and Lauderdale County school districts were closed on Thursday, and  Enterprise schools will remain closed on Friday. 

The storm caused roof and tree damage on the Southeast and Clarkdale campuses, but the Lauderdale County district said classes would resume on Friday. 

Power lines were reported down in the area, and 1178 EMEPA customers were without power as of 8 p.m. Thursday.

Tornado tears through Clarke County

Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star

Greg Risher hugs Gail Oglesby near her home in Enterprise after he made sure she was okay after Wednesday night's storm that hit the area.

At the height of the storm, 5,150 customers were without power. Crews from Dixie Electric Power Association, Central Electric Power Association and Northcentral Electric Power Association were called in to help the EMEPA with restoration efforts.

Two National Weather Service teams were sent to to Clarke, Lauderdale, Yazoo, Holmes, Attala and Jasper counties to assess the damage. An EF1 tornado was confirmed in Yazoo County, with maximum winds of 93 mph and a length of 8.17 miles. The tornado tracked north of Bentonia, damaging trees and destroying a shed. 

The NWS has reported seven tornadoes in Mississippi this year. 

Paula Merritt and Thomas King contributed to this report.

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