Tornado Emergency: Destructive windstorm spotted over Tupelo in Mississippi, residents told to take cover
Considerable damage to homes, businesses and vehicles is likely and complete destruction is possible, experts have said
As rain and a swarm of heavy storms sweep through the Mississippi delta, tornado watches and warnings have been released for many counties across the state.
Meteorologist and storm chaser Reed Timmer took to Twitter to share the warning: "TORNADO EMERGENCY for Tupelo, MS!! Take cover immediately. This is a life-threatening situation in Tupelo #mswx," he wrote. People are reportedly stuck inside homes, trees have been uprooted and mobile homes have been flattened. Here's what's to know about the tornado emergency.
Massive TDS with debris ball, destructive tornado heading in to Tupelo! Tornado emergency. Take cover Tupelo! pic.twitter.com/Scn1Aei0W8— Reed Timmer (@ReedTimmerAccu) May 3, 2021
"Massive TDS with debris ball, destructive tornado heading in to Tupelo! Tornado emergency. Take cover Tupelo!," said Timmer in another tweet. A tornadic debris signature (TDS), also known as a debris ball, is a high-reflectivity region on weather radar caused by debris lofting into the air, which is commonly associated with tornadoes.
"Tornado indicated on radar southwest of Tupelo… it should weaken by the time it reaches Northwest Alabama," said broadcast meteorologist James Spann. Alabamawx.com called it a "particularly dangerous situation" and urged people to take cover urgently.
Tornado indicated on radar southwest of Tupelo… it should weaken by the time it reaches Northwest Alabama pic.twitter.com/0QywnKchki— James Spann (@spann) May 3, 2021
'A life-threatening situation'
"You are in a life-threatening situation. Flying debris may be deadly to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be destroyed. Considerable damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles is likely and complete destruction is possible," the report said regarding the impact of the tornado. Of the precautionary measures one can take, the news outlet said: "Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a mobile home, a vehicle or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris."
Places expected to be affected
Tupelo, Baldwyn, Verona, Tombigbee State Park, Tishomingo State Park, Saltillo, Guntown, Belmont, Plantersville, Mantachie, Tishomingo, Burton, Pratts Friendship, Sandy Springs, Marietta, Golden, Paden, Thrasher, Dennis and Mooreville are among the locations expected to be affected. "People attending Tupelo Covid-19 testing should seek safe shelter immediately!" the report added.
Three tornadoes in the Delta
Currently, three tornadoes have been spotted in the Delta — one northwest of Kosciusko, one southwest of Yazoo City and one southwest of China, according to Alabamawx.com. The first is affecting the counties of Holmes and Carroll. East of Tchula, there is a lot of rotation. This tornado is on its way to Black Hawk. It will finally make its way to Winona and Interstate 55.
The Yazoo City storm is approaching the city's eastern outskirts and is a large and extremely dangerous tornado that has prompted a PDS Tornado Warning. Spotters recorded a tornado crossing the highway 4 miles north of Tinsley at 6.23 pm with high TDS. It has been recorded at elevations of up to 11,000 feet, the report said.
The thunderstorm that produced the tornado at Tupelo is weakening rapidly as it approaches Northwest Alabama pic.twitter.com/UXercHzafU— James Spann (@spann) May 3, 2021
At least five or six families may be displaced following the tornado, Yazoo County Emergency Management Director Jack Willingham told WJTV-TV. Neighbors are strongly advised to take shelter immediately, a report by WJTV-TV stated. A tornado alert has been issued for Webster and Choctaw counties until 9.15 pm. More than 2,500 customers are without power across the state, with Hinds, Yazoo, Holmes, and Attala counties having the most outages, the Clarion Ledger stated.