The National Weather Service has confirmed two tornadoes hit northeast Mississippi last week.
A preliminary survey Nov. 6 showed a twister with top winds of 115 mph (185 kph) struck in Pontotoc County. The tornado, rated EF-2 on the enhanced Fujita scale, traveled about 10 miles (16 kilometers) into Lee County and through parts of Tupelo on Nov. 5, injuring one person.
Three homes in Tupelo were destroyed, seven had major damage, and 27 had minor damage, according to the survey from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. Three businesses had major damage and three had minor damage, the survey said.
A second tornado struck in Itawamba County with top winds of 100 mph. The twister, rated EF-1, traveled 5 miles (8 kilometers), damaging a metal building and some mobile homes. No one was hurt.
There was significant damage to an assisted living center just outside the Tupelo city limits. Residents were evacuated to a church at first and are now living in a hotel temporarily while the center is repaired.
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton was quoted by the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal as saying that damage will top $1 million across the city.
“We are very fortunate to be spared loss of life,” he said.
The paths of both tornadoes were similar to that taken by twisters that swept through the area in 2014, although last week’s damage was not as widespread.
“We are very fortunate compared to what we had the last time,” said Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson.
Courtney Liggins and her husband, Cal, were going though closets removing clothing and trying to salvage other items from their home, which lost its roof and walls.
“My husband watched the roof fly off,” Courtney Liggins said.
The American Red Cross temporarily opened a shelter in Tupelo and community groups were organizing to offer assistance. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency crews were assessing damages to determine if they qualify for state or federal disaster declarations.
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