State: Soaking storm damage estimate at $5 million (and counting)

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

JACKSON (AP) — An early estimate shows Mississippi has suffered at least $5 million in damage from heavy rains that have soaked parts of the state since last week.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency director Greg Michel says Wednesday that the total cost could increase as officials continue assessing damages after floodwaters recede. He says some counties have received more than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain.

Michel says nearly 200 roads and bridges were damaged or destroyed and more than 300 homes were damaged in south Mississippi. Shelters remained open Wednesday in Clarke, Greene and Perry counties.

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Willie Huff of the Mississippi Department of Transportation is urging people not to drive on barricaded roads because parts of the roadbeds could be washed away.

On Tuesday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has issued a state of emergency declaration for eight counties hard hit by storms that dumped up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain in the state last week.

Bryant announced the proclamation Tuesday night on Twitter. The emergency was declared for Clarke, Covington, Forrest, Jasper, Jones, Lauderdale, Perry and Wayne counties.

Bryant said the declaration will help provide state support for the local government response and recovery efforts in those areas.

Mississippi was hit by a tornado and flash flooding as a line of storms moved across the state Dec. 27.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said no deaths or serious injuries had been reported. Residents of about two dozen homes had to be rescued in Forrest County.