By Monica Land
SHUQUALAK – Gov. Phil Bryant declared a State of Emergency Thursday for Kemper and Noxubee counties due to the impacts of severe storms and tornadoes that injured many and left one person dead.
A command post has been set up in downtown Shuqualak after a tornado ripped through the area around noon Thursday. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) director Robert Latham was in town as part of the effort to help following the tornado.
MEMA spokesman Greg Flynn says the fatality was reported west-northwest of DeKalb, near Mississippi Highway 493, in Kemper County.
Bryant’s office said any additional counties with damages or impacts due to the severe weather will also be covered by this State of Emergency.
“This State of Emergency will help expedite the support needed as local and state officials work together to assess the damages,” Bryant said.
The State of Emergency is an administrative tool that allows the state to offer support and resources to the areas affected by this weather event.
have submitted initial damage reports to the State Emergency Operations Center in Pearl. The reports are as follows: Clarke: Trees and power lines down; Clay: Trees down in the Cedar Bluff Community with minor roof damage to a few homes; Forrest: At least one home damaged with minor damage to a fire station; Kemper: One death and five injuries with several home and at least one business damaged and Noxubee: Trees and power lines down in the Shuqualak and Macon areas.
About 4,220 4-County Electric Power Association members were without power as of 5:30 p.m. due to high winds associated with a tornado and storm systems that swept through the cooperative’s service territory. 4-County crews are in the process of damage assessment and restoration efforts. The majority of outages are in Noxubee County.
4-County Manager of Consumer Services Cliff Wall estimates that some 100 poles were snapped along with large amounts of line on the ground. Crews worked until 8 p.m. Thursday and will resume early Friday morning.
First United Methodist Church in Macon began feeding operations around 9 p.m. for those in need.
Damage assessment in these and other counties affected by today’s severe weather are ongoing. .
MEMA has deployed a mobile communications trailer to Kemper County in support of emergency operations in the affected areas. Three MEMA Area Coordinators are also assisting local emergency managers in Kemper and Noxubee counties.