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Mississippi tornado kills 23, injures dozens

A woman looking at where her mother's mobile home used to be. Associated Press/Photo by Rogelio V. Solis

Mississippi tornado kills 23, injures dozens

Four people are missing after a town-leveling storm ripped through Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama on Friday night. In addition to the 23 Mississippi deaths, the storm system also killed at least one person in Alabama, and officials in both states say the death toll could still rise. At least one tornado touched down in Rolling Fork, Miss. “My city is gone,” the mayor of Rolling Fork told CNN. The damage was still being assessed Saturday, but poweroutage.us reported nearly 50,000 people were without power across the three states that day. 

Did they know the storm was coming? Meteorologists knew by March 17 that there would be a tornado risk in the area. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center put out an alert on March 19. The storm system contained a supercell, which brews some of the most damaging tornadoes and hail in the United States, a Northern Illinois University professor said. Mississippi meteorologist Matt Laubhan was broadcasting live during the storm. “Oh man,” he said on WTVA. “Dear Jesus, please help them. Amen.” 

Dig deeper: Read Onize Ohikere’s report in World Tour on people in southeast Africa trying to recover after Cyclone Freddy.

Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. She graduated from World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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