Governor declares state of emergency after severe weather hits Mississippi

Published 11:25 am Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Gov. Phil Bryant on Tuesday issued a declaration of emergency following Monday’s severe weather that impacted at least 25 counties.

As many as 14 tornadoes have been confirmed so far, and officials expect that number to increase as storm surveys take place.

Several injuries, including one severe injury in Amite, were reported but no deaths, according to officials.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

At a news conference Tuesday, Bryant asked the public to stay away from damaged areas.

“Do not go into the affected areas … just to look or take photographs,” he said.

Officials estimate that more than 150 homes were damaged or affected, in early counts. That number is expected to climb.

As of Tuesday morning, as many as 9,000-11,000 are without power across the state.

Shelters and safe rooms opened Monday, including one in Lincoln County.

The National Weather Service plans to be in Lincoln and Lawrence counties Tuesday to conduct storm surveys to determine the extent of the damage and rate any tornadoes.

Several houses were damaged in Lincoln County after at least one confirmed tornado hit Monday. Meteorologist Dan Byrd with the National Weather Service in Jackson said at least one tornado touched down in the Bogue Chitto area.

Byrd said a tornado was also confirmed in Silver Creek in Lawrence County.

Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey said there was widespread damage “south of Bogue Chitto Road, west of I-55 all the way to all the county lines. We’ve got all kinds of damage.”

MEMA advises residents who need assistance or to report damage to contact their local emergency management office. In Lincoln County, the number is 601-833-8561. In Lawrence, it’s 601-587-7664.