MEMA gives update on Pine Belt tornado damage reports

Residences of Hattiesburg and Petal, Miss., experience storm damage, Jan. 21, 2017. The tornado hit the area during the early morning hours.(Mississippi Army National Guard photo by Pfc.Christopher Shannon/Released)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WJTV) — The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said more than 1,400 homes damaged in eight counties, 715 of them were destroyed or sustained major damage.

There were also four confirmed deaths and 60 injuries from tornadoes and severe storms.

Gov. Phil Bryant sent an official request for a Federal Disaster Declaration to President Donald J. Trump Monday night. The request is for Individual Assistance to help affected residents in Forrest, Lamar, Lauderdale and Perry counties.

A breakdown of damage by county:

  • Forrest: Four deaths and 56 injuries. 771 homes destroyed/major damage, 629 minor/affected.
  • Franklin: One home major damage and two bridges destroyed, one road with major damage.
  • Jones: Two injuries, three homes damaged.
  • Lamar: 26 homes destroyed/major damage, 52 minor. Two roads major damage.
  • Lauderdale: One injury, 10 homes, one business and one farm building destroyed/major damage, 11 homes minor damage.
  • Perry: One injury, six homes destroyed/major damage, five homes minor damage.
  • Pike: One home destroyed, five with minor damage.
  • Wilkinson: One home minor damage and seven roads with minor damage.

The National Weather Service in Jackson confirmed an EF-3 tornado struck portions of Lamar and Forrest counties, and an EF-2 touched town in Lauderdale County. NWS Mobile ruled an EF-2 tornado struck Perry County.

There are an estimated 1,180 residents without power, mostly in the Hattiesburg area, according to the Dixie Electric Power Association.

The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated with MEMA and key state agencies coordinating resources to the affected areas.

MS Department of Human Services & American Red Cross:

  • Forrest County 361 Saferoom/Shelter: 35 occupants reported; MS Department of Mental Health has a crisis team on site to assist with any potential needs.
  • MDHS provided 326 SNAP replacement benefits and issued applications to potential new clients.

Salvation Army:

  • Three Canteen/Feeding Units are deployed in the Hattiesburg area.

MS Department of Public Safety:

  • MS Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks has assigned 10 Special Response Team (SRT) officers to Hattiesburg Police Department.
  • Mississippi Highway Patrol has 20 troopers in the city of Petal and eight assisting William Carey University.

MS National Guard:

  • 22 National Guardsmen deployed to Forrest County assisting law enforcement.

MS Department of Health:

  • Administering Tetanus shots in the affected areas at Health Dept. offices.

MS Department of Education:

  • Working with the Petal School District on the two damaged schools:
    • Petal Upper Elementary and Petal Primary School.

 MS Department of Environmental Quality:

  • Coordinating with all affected counties on debris management and disposal plans.

MS Emergency Management Agency:

  • Six generators provided to Forrest County.
  • 3,000 tarps and 1,500 bottles of water delivered to affected areas.
  • Seven Disaster Reservists activated.

Gov. Phil Bryant declared a State of Emergency and signed an executive order to authorize use of the National Guard on January 21st.

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