NWS confirms nine tornadoes as part of weekend storms

Data pix.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The National Weather Service says nine tornadoes were produced as part of a storm system that swept through the Mid-South causing damage Saturday.

Two were confirmed in West Tennessee, while the others were in North Mississippi. NWS says they will do at least one more day of surveying after the storm, and the number of tornadoes they confirm could grow.

There were a total of four EF-0 tornadoes that traveled through Fayette, Weakley, Lee and Prentiss, and Tishomingo counties; four EF-1 tornadoes in Obion, Prentiss, Tishomingo and Tate, and DeSoto counties; and a single EF-2 tornado in Desoto County.

The EF-2 that struck DeSoto County had peak wind speeds of 120 miles per hour.

No deaths were reported, but damage was widespread.

Kole Fehling, meteorologist with NWS in Memphis, said the system that produced the tornadoes wasn't out of the ordinary for this time of the year, but its strength and severity was unusual. Severe storm season in this area usually peaks in fall and spring, he said.

Going down Highway 51 in DeSoto County, power and tree-trimming crews line the streets.

The Weather Service says an EF-1 tornado ripped through northern Tate County crossing the Arkabutla Lake into southern DeSoto County.

James Newsom says he's  a frequent camper at the Hernando Point campground. He says he was inside his RV, when the tornado tore through the campsite.

The tree landed on his RV, he said, preventing the wind from tipping it over.

"It had raised this up and threw everything off of one side. It raised up the other side and threw everything off of there. I felt something hit real hard,” Newsom said.

He said the event only lasted for about four minutes, but the scariest part was waiting till daylight to see the extent of damage to the park.

Mississippi Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann toured Desoto County on Monday and told reporters it was "amazing we don't have loss of life" after seeing the aftermath of the storms.

He said in order to get federal declaration, Desoto County will have to prove they have more than $619,000 worth of damage. That number goes up to $4.5 million for the entire state to receive a declaration.

Prior to speaking with reporters on Monday, Hosemann said he'd only driven through a small portion of the county to see the damage. Based on what he's seen so far, he said it's likely Desoto County will get that declaration.

"I'm going to be very surprised if we don't get that number," Hosemann admitted.

In all, he said at least 200 were directly impacted by the storm.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency listed damage reports for these counties:

• Bolivar – 107 homes damaged, three roads damaged, four injured
• Carrol – one home damaged, 10 roads damaged
• Chickasaw – one home damaged, 10 roads damaged
• Choctaw – 26 apartment units damaged, 10 roads closed due to debris, two closed due to flooding
• Coahoma – two homes damaged
• Copiah – one home damaged
• DeSoto – 210 homes damaged, five roads closed
• Grenada – 10 homes damaged
• Hinds – 13 homes damaged
• Leflore – three homes damaged
• Leake – 10 roads closed due to flooding
• Lee – homes damaged, roads flooded
• Marshall – five homes damaged, three roads closed, one injured
• Monroe – one home damaged, 10 apartment units damaged, 15 roads closed
• Oktibbeha – 30 roads closed and/or flooded
• Panola – 50 homes damaged, 30 roads closed and/or flooded, one injury
• Prentiss – 54 homes damaged, five apartments damaged
• Quitman – eight homes damaged, four apartments damaged, one road closed


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