Search and recovery teams resumed the daunting task Sunday of digging through the rubble of wrecked and destroyed homes, commercial buildings and community offices after hundreds of people were displaced by a deadly tornado that ripped through the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest regions of the USA, raced US

At least 25 people were killed and dozens more injured in Mississippi as the massive storm swept through several cities on its hour-long path Friday night. A man was killed after his trailer rolled over several times in Alabama.

The hurricane flattened entire city blocks, destroying homes, tearing a steeple from a church and collapsing a municipal water tower. Even as the recovery was just beginning, the National Weather Service warned of the risk of severe weather Sunday — including strong winds, large hail and possible tornadoes — in east Louisiana, south-central Mississippi and south-central Alabama.

Based on early data, the tornado received a preliminary EF-4 rating, the National Weather Service’s Jackson office said in a tweet late Saturday. According to the service, an EF-4 tornado has peak wind gusts between 166 and 200 miles per hour (265 km/h and 320 km/h). The Jackson office warned it was still collecting information about the tornado.

President Joe Biden pledged federal aid to Mississippi, and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell was scheduled to visit Sunday to assess the destruction.

Friday night’s tornado devastated part of the 2,000-person town of Rolling Fork, dumping homes in debris, overturning cars and collapsing the town’s water tower. Other parts of the Deep South dug up after damage caused by other suspected twisters. A man died in Morgan County, Alabama, the local sheriff’s department said tweet.

“How anyone survived is beyond me,” said Rodney Porter, who lives 20 miles south of Rolling Fork. When the storm hit on Friday night, he immediately drove there to help wherever he could. Porter came to find “Total Devastation” and said he smelled natural gas and heard people screaming for help in the dark.

“Houses are gone, houses piled on top of houses with vehicles on top,” he said.

Annette Body drove from nearby Belozi to the hard-hit city of Silver City to survey the damage. She said she feels “blessed” that her own home wasn’t destroyed, but that other people she know lost everything.

“Cried last night, cried this morning,” she said, looking around at the destroyed houses. “They said you had to take cover, but it happened so quickly that a lot of people didn’t even get a chance to take cover.”

Survivors of the storm walked around Saturday, many dazed and shocked as they used chainsaws to smash through densely packed debris and downed trees in search of survivors. Power lines have been fixed under decades-old oak trees whose roots have been uprooted.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency and pledged to help rebuild as he surveyed the damage in a region dotted with vast expanses of cotton, corn and soybean fields and catfish farming ponds. He spoke to Biden, who was also on the phone with the state’s congressional delegation.

More than half a dozen shelters have opened in Mississippi to accommodate the displaced.

Preliminary information, based on estimates from storm reports and radar data, shows the tornado was on the ground for more than an hour and traveled at least 170 miles, said Lance Perrilloux, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s office in Jackson, Mississippi.

“That’s rare — very, very rare,” he said, attributing the long path to widespread atmospheric instability.

Perrilloux said preliminary results showed the tornado began its path of destruction southwest of Rolling Fork before continuing northeast towards the rural communities of Midnight and Silver City and on towards Tchula, Black Hawk and Winona.

The supercell that produced the deadly twister also appeared to be producing tornadoes, causing damage in northwest and north-central Alabama, said Brian Squitieri, a severe storm forecaster at the Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.


Associated Press writer Emily Wagster Pettus in Rolling Fork, Mississippi; Michael Goldberg of Silver City, Mississippi; and Jim Salter of O’Fallon, Missouri, contributed to this report.

Leah Willingham, The Associated Press


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