Update: Tornadoes spawn in Mississippi; wind damage in more than two dozen counties
Tornado watches now cover much of Mississippi through early Wednesday morning as a significant severe weather outbreak continues to unfold.
The Storm Prediction Center issued four tornado watches for the state extending until 1 p.m. Wednesday.
The watches cover 71 out of the state’s 82 counties including Yalobusha, Washington, Tunica, Tate, Tallahatchie, Sunflower, Sharkey, Quitman, Panola, Marshall, Leflore, Lafayette, Issaquena, Humphreys, DeSoto, Coahoma, Bolivar, Yazoo, Winston, Webster, Warren, Union, Tishomingo, Tippah, Smith, Simpson, Scott, Rankin, Prentiss, Pontotoc, Oktibbeha, Noxubee, Newton, Neshoba, Montgomery, Monroe, Madison, Lowndes, Lincoln, Lee, Leake, Lawrence, Kemper, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Jasper, Lauderdale, Clarke, Covington, Itawamba, Holmes, Hinds, Grenada, Franklin, Copiah, Clay, Claiborne, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Carroll, Calhoun, Benton, Attala, Alcorn, Wayne, Stone, Perry, Greene, George and Adams.
Scattered intense storms have been moving across the state, mainly across portions of central and northern Mississippi. These storms have prompted several severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings and have caused damage.
Trees and power lines have been reported blown down in more than a dozen counties including Leflore, Grenada, Lee, Tunica, Pontotoc, Tate, Itawamba, Holmes, Lowndes, Rankin Attala, Oktibbeha and Lincoln counties.
In Grenada County, emergency management officials say the roof was blown off an apartment building. In Lee County, a few businesses sustained extensive damage from strong winds with one shop having its entire front torn off.
Emergency management officials also reported five homes had received structural damage in Pontotoc County.
Emergency management in Bolivar County reported a possible tornado snapped a one-mile stretch of power poles just southwest of Cleveland. In Washington County, the roof was reported blown off a restaurant with trees down on homes in the Leland area after a possible tornado here.
A trained spotter reported a tornado crossed Highway 6 in Panola County near Sardis but no damage had been reported.
These storms are apart of a significant outbreak across the Mississippi River Valley, driven by an unusually warm airmass in place.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency along with the National Weather Service are urging residents to stay weather aware.
This is a very dangerous weather situation unfolding and everyone should stay updated on the latest weather information as it becomes available and be prepared to seek shelter immediately in case your area is threatened.
The storms are expected to clear the state by late Wednesday morning.
Get more interesting environment and science and space news. Also, follow along with the thousands of others for periodic weather updates, news and notes on Twitter.