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Surviving Tornadoes

PEARL, Miss. -A tornado that swept through northern Mississippi final week has claimed another life. The death toll is now at 11, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency stated.

The Dec. 23 storm is blamed for six deaths in Benton County, two in Coahoma County, two in Marshall County and one in Tippah County, MEMA stated. Gov. Phil Bryant said Monday that he hopes to ask President Obama for a national disaster declaration for the impacted locations.

“We’re attempting to get this done as rapidly as you possibly can so we are able to get all of that info back in and place to the governor’s request,” Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn stated. A FEMA group surveyed damage on Tuesday. Flynn said FEMA is taking a look at how numerous homes were destroyed and how numerous people who were affected had correct insurance coverage.

“The much more uninsured and underinsured you have, the greater chance you have of becoming approved for a person help request,” Flynn stated. “We’re very confident, simply because if you look at the locations that were hit, you realize they weren’t big subdivisions; this was a really rural region.”



Widespread Destruction and Water Damage

FEMA stated 241 homes were destroyed or suffered significant water damage, and much more than 400 homes had been affected by Wednesday’s tornado. Bryant declared a state of emergency for the impacted locations of the state, which enables local governments to request state assistance with response and recovery.

Another tornado formed Monday morning and tore through Seminary, damaging houses and companies. But Covington County isn’t yet included in the disaster request, Flynn said.

“Right now, we’ve requested (assist for) the five hardest hit (counties),” Flynn stated. “The hardest part is obtaining the declaration. Adding counties on is a bit easier in the procedure.” If the president signs the disaster declaration, storm victims can begin requesting financial assist correct away. “The minute that it is approved, the phone lines will be open and online registration will probably be open for people to start registering instantly,” Flynn said.

State officials hope to send the request to the president by Wednesday night. Mississippi was particularly difficult hit Tuesday. Four of the five reported deaths took place in the state; three in Marion County and two in Jones County, according to local officials. Survey teams from the NWS analyzed harm from a tornado near Columbia, the seat of Marion County. The group rated the damage as constant with an EF3 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

Harm from the Jones County tornado, close to Laurel, has been rated EF2 with maximum winds estimated at 125 mph. Eric Carpenter, a meteorologist at the NWS workplace in Jackson, Mississippi, stated it is not yet clear whether the two swaths of tornado damage came from separate tornadoes, or one long-track tornado.

“Regardless of how numerous tornadoes touched down, Tuesday has become the deadliest December tornado event in Mississippi since 38 died in the Vicksburg tornado of Dec. 5, 1953,” said Nick Wiltgen, senior meteorologist. He stated the last December tornado to kill two or more people in Mississippi occurred in 1967, based on NOAA’s official storm database.

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