Sunday, April 25, 2010
At least ten people are dead after a large, destructive tornado tore through Yazoo City, Mississippi yesterday. The tornado has been rated an EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, and is estimated to have had at most 170 mph winds.
Five of the deaths were in Choctaw County, four in Yazoo County, and one in Holmes County. 21 people have been hospitalized as a result of the storm, and others have been trapped in cars and houses. Multiple injuries resulted from cars being blown off of Interstate 55 during the storm.
The tornado moved along a path 97 miles long and 1.75 miles wide at its widest point. Among damaged or destroyed buildings included at least twenty houses, a church, and several businesses. According to Yazoo City mayor McArthur Straughter, the storm ripped the roofs off of every building in the area. Fallen trees and debris are hindering access to some parts of Yazoo City and Yazoo County. Before ravaging the city, the tornado damaged a chemical plant in Louisiana, causing a nitrogen leak and several injuries.
The Salvation Army is aiding relief efforts by providing hot meals, coffee, cold drinks, and spiritual counseling to tornado victims in Yazoo and Warren Counties.
The tornado occurred on the third, and most active, day of a severe weather outbreak that had previously affected areas of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana, the latter two of which were also effected during Saturday’s outbreak. The Storm Prediction Center has received 104 reports of tornadoes so far during this outbreak.