Rolling Fork, MS – A massive tornado has left a 100 mile swath of destruction. Details from Fox News
FOX NEWS.COM – Tornadoes injured at least two people in Mississippi on Friday as the twisters tore a path of destruction across the state that appears to be at least 100 miles long.
The tornadoes began in the town of Rolling Fork, where a Tornado Emergency, which is the most dire of tornado alerts, was issued. Storm spotters reported the tornado was at least a mile wide as it approached the town.
Fred Miller, the former mayor of Rolling Fork, said much of the town has been destroyed.
“The west part of Rolling Fork is a residential area, and just a number of houses over there have been completely destroyed,” Miller said. “Highway 61, where most of our businesses are, all of the businesses on 61 have been completely destroyed. People are trapped in a couple of the eateries, and people are trying to get them out now.”
Eric Tole, a storm chaser with Live Storms Media, said he and his chase partners helped pull seven people, including a child, from the rubble of a restaurant in the town.
“Gas lines are broke – they’re spewing, you can smell it in the air,” Tole said. “It’s pretty bad. (The town) got hit pretty bad.”
Brett Adair, FOX Weather’s field meteorologist who was chasing the storm, reported significant damage in Silver City, Mississippi, about 30 miles northeast of Rolling Fork.
“We had the drone up in the air and saw this massive tornado coming in, probably 5 or 6 miles away, and then just watched numerous explosions as it came across the highway here in Silver City.”
Brandon Clement, also a storm chaser with Live Storms Media, said he was following the storm as it moved through Tchula, about 50 miles northeast of Rolling Fork. He said the storm appeared to miss the heart of the town.
“Unfortunately, we saw some extreme examples of what tornadoes can do tonight, and it’s not over yet.”
Christopher Jackson, another storm chaser with Live Storms Media, was following the storm as it ripped through the town of Winona. He said he saw a damage path that is about a half-mile wide.
A second tornado, which appeared to have originated from the same storm that caused the first twister, ripped through the eastern Mississippi towns of Amory and Smithville. The National Weather Service reported significant damage in those towns.
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State emergency managers said search and rescue teams were deployed to Sharkey and Humphreys counties to look for storm victims, and hospitals are being assessed in Sharkey County.
More than 24,000 power outages have been reported across Mississippi, according to poweroutage.us.
“For Mississippi, it’s devastating,” Tole said. “Our heart goes out to everyone affected in Mississippi tonight because that tornado was bad.”
Radar analysis by FOX Weather showed that the twister has been on the ground for at least 53 miles from the first debris detection near Rolling Fork about 8 p.m. CDT to just after 9 p.m. CDT northeast of Tchula. By 10 p.m. CDT, the tornado had been on the ground for about 80 miles. The second tornado lifted not long after it moved into Alabama.
In Alabama, the National Weather Service reported tree damage in the Bear Creek area. An overturned tractor-trailer and tree damage was also reported near Hartselle.
Just after midnight, damage that may have been caused by yet another tornado was reported at a hospital in Fayetteville, Tennessee, according to the National Weather Service.