Severe weather, tornado rocks Mid-South early Monday morning

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Counties across the Mid-South were under severe weather alerts Monday as storms rolled through the area during the early morning hours.

The National Weather Service issued both Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and Tornado Warnings for counties in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

The National Weather Service said preliminary information indicated an EF-1 tornado in Tyronza, Arkansas, blowing off part of the elementary school’s roof. The mayor says Tyronza will have a 9 p.m. curfew tonight.

At one point Monday morning there were at least three Tornado Warnings in the immediate Memphis metro area.

The city of Memphis’s Office of Emergency Management said Parkway Village, Fox Meadows and Balmoral all sustained heavy damage.

More than 43,000 customers were without power in Memphis, MLGW reported around noon due to downed trees, broken poles and downed wires across the city. They said approximately 85 percent of customers should be back up and running by midnight tonight.

After-school activities and after-care were canceled at seven Shelby County Schools Monday evening due to power outages: Balmoral-Ridgeway Elementary, Evans Elementary, Goodlett Elementary, Knight Road Elementary, Oakhaven Elementary, Ridgeway Middle and Westhaven Elementary.

WREG’s Melissa Moon visited the Memphis International Airport after receiving reports of damage and massive lines there. She met one passenger who said she was on a flight to Dallas when the plane suddenly started shaking. Passengers were told to get off and to shelter in nearby restrooms.

All passengers were then reportedly told to go through screenings again causing long lines.

The airport later tweeted out a statement saying, “While minor damage was sustained, the worst of the weather has now passed and normal operations have resumed at MEM.”

In Arkansas, a woman and a clerk were reportedly injured in Tyronza after seeking shelter from the storm in a gas station. The building sustained severe damage. Video from the scene showed that the roof appears to have blown off the building. Multiple first responders were on the scene.

Across the street, an elementary school and a church both sustained damage. It’s unclear if anyone else was hurt.

The National Weather Service said initial information suggests the damage may have been caused by an EF-1 tornado.

Data pix.

Further west, one person died in northwest Arkansas when a tree fell on a home in Rogers, about 150 miles northwest of Little Rock, according to the Benton County Department of Public Safety. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said “significant storm damage” occurred in northwest Arkansas.

Power was out at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Highfill, about 155 miles northwest of Little Rock. The airport says flights were still departing, though security screenings were being done manually.

The storms also caused damage in Oklahoma and Missouri.

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