Emergency Management director: Saturday’s storm ‘not a tornado’

Published 9:24 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A storm that looked like a tornado on radar Saturday was later identified as straight line winds with a lot of rain by the National Weather Service.

Strong storms produced a radar-indicated tornado Saturday morning in Lincoln County, resulting in downed trees and power lines in West Lincoln, Enterprise, Bogue Chitto and near Wesson. Hundreds were without power following the storm.

It was a similar story in Lawrence and Copiah counties. The weather service reported a tree fell on a car along I-55 in Copiah.

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Lincoln County was under a tornado warning for about 45 minutes as the storm moved across the county from west to east.

Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey said the storm did not produce a tornado.

“We may have had a funnel cloud, but it was not a tornado as we have no damage reported that would support such,” he said.

Flash flooding was also reported across the county and in Brookhaven.

Emergency officials reported there were no injuries or significant damage.

The storm Saturday was part of the severe weekend weather blamed for 11 deaths and major damage in parts of the Midwest, South and Northeast.

The storms toppled trees, ripped off roofs and, in some areas, reduced buildings to rubble. The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado with winds of around 130 mph hit a high school in Kershaw County, South Carolina, Saturday, causing extensive damage.

The weather service said it was a tornado packing winds of at least 134 mph that hit Alabama’s Pickens County Saturday, killing three people.

In northwestern Louisiana, three fatalities were blamed on high winds. A man in his bed in Oil City, Louisiana, was crushed to death by a tree that fell on his home early Saturday. A couple in nearby Bossier Parish were killed when the storms demolished their mobile home. NWS said a tornado with 135 mph winds hit the area.

In Lubbock, Texas, two first responders were killed when they were hit by a vehicle at the scene of a traffic accident on icy roads; in Iowa, where a semitrailer on Interstate 80 overturned, a passenger was killed in similar road conditions.

Near Kiowa, Oklahoma, a man drowned after he was swept away by floodwaters, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

Today in Lincoln County, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3 p.m. increasing to 30 percent overnight into Thursday. If it rains, it will likely cease by noon and not resume until after midnight Friday.

Showers and possibly a thunderstorm are expected Saturday but will taper off by the afternoon and remain cloudy, but dry, through at least Tuesday.