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2 in Miss. killed as storm system crosses state

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 22, 2013 at 12:02 am •  Published: December 22, 2013

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A severe storm system swept across Mississippi on Saturday, dumping more than an inch of rain and blowing down trees and power lines. Two deaths were blamed on the weather.

Several other people were injured across the state, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency reported.

In Coahoma County, Coroner Scotty Meredith said John Sanders died when his mobile home in Rena Lara was blown over. Sanders was sleeping in a bedroom in the mobile home in the rural Mississippi Delta community when the storm hit.

When the mobile home blew over, it hit a tree, and Sanders ended up pinned between the tree and part of the home.

Three other adults and two children were in the living room. Meredith said the storm "threw them out" and one of the adults was treated in an emergency room for cuts and scratches.

In Jasper County, a man died after his car hit a tree that had fallen across a county road near Heidelberg, Coroner Randy Graham said. A woman who was in the car was critically injured and taken to a hospital. Their names were not immediately released.

At the storm's height, more than 22,000 people lost power in northern Mississippi. That number was beginning to fall late Saturday night as electricity was restored.

David Cox, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said surveyors would have to check Sunday to see whether any of the damage was caused by tornadoes.

"It's probably too soon to tell," Cox said. "There are some rotations along this line, but there are also some straight-line winds."

Entergy Mississippi reported as many as 11,000 customers without power, with outages clustered in Coahoma, DeSoto and Tate counties. That number fell to 7,000 by 11 p.m. Saturday. Electric cooperatives in northwest Mississippi reported more than 11,000 more outages, with Northcentral Electric Power Association in DeSoto and Marshall counties hardest hit.

A wind gust of 64 mph was recorded at a weather station in Cleveland on Saturday afternoon, while after dusk, a storm chaser recorded an 80 mph wind near Corinth, according to the National Weather Service. Rain amounts of more than an inch were reported in Tunica.

In Senatobia, wind caused a roof fell in at a fitness center on one end of a shopping center near Interstate 55.

"I think it buckled the back part of it," Tate County Emergency Management director Kim Brownlee said. "There's water pouring in the back of that place."

Another area of damage was near Lula. Tunica County Emergency Management Director Randy Stewart said a church and four homes were damaged, while a mobile home was destroyed.

Damage to trees or structures was also reported in more than a dozen other counties.

Strong winds and rain also hit northern Louisiana and Arkansas. At least three tornadoes were suspected in those states. Some injuries were reported in each, but no deaths.


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