MEMA report: Four deaths, 480 homes damaged, more than 50 injuries after EF-3 tornado hit Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties Saturday

Published 1:59 pm Sunday, January 22, 2017

Preliminary damage reports to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency show 480 homes were damaged in four counties from severe weather.  There were also four confirmed deaths and more than 50 injuries.

  • Forrest County – 4 deaths; 56 injuries: 428 homes damaged; assessments are still ongoing throughout the county.  Multiple roads are still closed due to debris.
  • Lamar County – 30 homes damaged; multiple roads closed due to debris and flooding.
  • Lauderdale County – One injury; 12 homes damaged.
  • Perry County – One injury; 10 homes damaged; one road closed due to debris and flooding.
  • Pike – Two homes damaged; one road closed.
  • Wilkinson – Three homes damaged.

The National Weather Service in Jackson confirmed an EF-3 tornado struck portions of Lamar, Forrest, and Perry counties on Saturday.

There are an estimated 7,600 residents without power statewide, according to Mississippi Power and the Electric Power Association.  The following utility companies are reporting:

  • Entergy – Reporting 752 outages
  • Dixie Electric Power Association – Reporting 1,465 outages
  • Pearl River Electric Power Association – Reporting 2,676 outages

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The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated with MEMA and key state agencies coordinating resources to the affected areas.

There are three shelters open in the affected areas.  The shelter operations are supervised by American Red Cross, under the guidance of the MS Department of Health:

  • Forrest County 361 Saferoom/Shelter – 79 occupants reported; MS Department of Health has a crisis team on site to assist with any potential needs.
  • Petal Civic Center – 12 occupants reported
  • The University of Southern Mississippi – Housing 30 international students that attend William Carey University.

Salvation Army:

  • Two Canteen/Feeding Units have been deployed to assist in the Hattiesburg area; they are set up at the Forrest and Lamar County 361 Saferoom/Shelters, respectively.
  • A Roving Canteen/Feeding Unit has been deployed to serve affected neighborhoods in the Hattiesburg area.

MS Department of Public Safety:

  • MS Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks has assigned 10 Special Response Team (SRT) officers to Hattiesburg Police Department to provide security for William Carey University.
  • 10 SRT officers provided security for the city of Petal business area as well as neighborhoods damaged in the storm.
  • Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agent provided security for the Downtown area to deter looting as well as assist in security of William Carey University.
  • Mississippi Highway Patrol had 30 Troopers that provided traffic control in the city of Hattiesburg and the city of Petal.
  • Mississippi Bureau of Investigation assisted the Hattiesburg Police Department and Petal Police Department in security and patrol of business to deter looting.

MS Department of Health:

  • All water systems are functioning. Two systems have been affected and have boil water notices. The following systems are operating by generator at the time:

o   Forrest County – Barrontown Utility: Restoration Complete, except for 3 customers and they are working to restore service now.

o   Perry County – Runnelstown Utility – Full Restoration

  • MS Rural Water Association has not identified any damaged systems; they have staff in route to the sites to provide assistance in getting the water systems back on line.