At least 23 people have been killed while four are still missing, US authorities have reported
At least 23 people have died after a devastating combination of tornados and storms battered the US state of Mississippi on Friday night, local officials said on Saturday. Dozens more have been injured and four people have been reported missing. Local authorities have also stated that the town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi is "gone."
A tornado moving at 50 miles per hour (80.46 km/h) hit Silver City and Rolling Fork on Friday night, almost completely leveling the latter. Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker lamented that his "city is gone" while promising residents that rescue efforts were underway and that the town will be rebuilt.
Video and images of the aftermath posted to social media show scenes of total devastation, with large areas completely reduced to scraps and rubble, and cars and trucks torn up and deposited on top of what were once buildings.
At least eleven tornado warnings were issued in Mississippi and Alabama over a 24-hour period, though it was unclear how many involved the tornado that laid waste to Rolling Fork and Silver City. Locals were reportedly trapped in their homes as furniture and other massive debris flew into the air. Many are feared to be still trapped.
Deaths were reported across Sharkey, Humphreys, Carroll, and Monroe counties in Mississippi and confirmed by state officials, while a team from the Federal Emergency Management Administration has been sent to the state. Governor Tate Reeves has activated additional emergency personnel to help in the rescue effort on Friday.
Power outages were reported in over 83,000 homes in three US states, with 47,000 in Tennessee alone, though some of those had electricity restored by the afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us.
Another round of storms is expected to hit the area on Sunday, with heavy winds, tornadoes, and hail as well as rain predicted in Montgomery, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; and Columbus and Macon, in the state of Georgia.