Powerful Storm Blows Across Mississippi and Alabama

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

The National Weather Service issued tornado and severe thunderstorm alerts for areas in the path of the fast moving system that produced heavy rain, strong wind gusts, lightning and hail.

The storms left damage from the Mississippi River into east Mississippi. Power outages were reported in several communities.

Straight line winds took out a church parking shelter in downtown Meridian Friday.

Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith issued an emergency declaration for the city, giving the city authority to clean roadways and go on private property, if necessary, for public safety.

Gov. Haley Barbour put 33 counties in Mississippi under a state of emergency.

Most are in danger of flooding from the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers in west Mississippi.

Mike Reich with East Mississippi Electric Power Association said power outages were extensive in its service area. Phone service to EMEPA was also knocked out, making it hard for residents to report outages, and thus, get an accurate number of customers affected.

Trees blocked roads and toppled onto homes, especially in northeast Jackson and in the Madison, Ridgeland and Canton areas. Similar damage was reported across Rankin County, including the Pearl and Brandon areas and along U.S. 49, and to the east in Morton and Forest in Scott County.

Ambulances transported at least 20 people to Jackson-area hospitals Friday as powerful storms packing possible tornadoes, powerful winds, heavy rain and hail tore across Mississippi.

That same violent weather storm system also ripped through parts of Alabama, causing significant damage to homes and businesses.

In Cullman County, residents were without power for several hours after wind knocked trees down onto power lines. Officials did not know immediately if the damage was caused by straight lines winds or a tornado.

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