An apparent tornado passed through the heart of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on Sunday as part of a wave of severe storms that caused injuries and significant damage.
Forrest County Fire Coordinator Chip Brown said there is major damage in Hattiesburg and to the northeast in Petal, including on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. He couldn’t confirm injuries.
The storm passed along one of the city’s main streets.
“We had a tornado touch down. We have a lot of damage,” said Kyle Hopkins, operations director for Forrest County emergency operations.
The university released a statement saying that several buildings had been damaged but that no injuries were reported. Campus police have declared a state of emergency and asked anyone not on campus to stay away.
Pictures posted on Facebook by WDAM in Hattiesburg showed rows of trees flattened in the Oak Grove area and damage to commercial buildings.
Marion County emergency director Aaron Greer said three injuries — at least one minor — had been reported in the community of Pickwick, about seven miles south of Columbia. He said one person was taken to a hospital by ambulance, another by Triple-A, and the third person didn’t have the injury examined.
Greer said one mobile home was destroyed, three other structures have major damage, two or three have minor damage, and emergency workers are still checking three other roads where damage was reported.
National Weather Service meteorologist Joanne Culin said there have also been reports of injuries in Marion County.
Nasty weather has settled in on much of Louisiana and Mississippi, including tornado or flash flood watches. The National Weather Service says bad weather is likely to stretch into Fat Tuesday.
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