Pre-Thanksgiving Tornadoes Strike Parts of Mississippi

December 2, 2019

Residents in northeast Louisiana and central Mississippi were cutting up fallen pine trees and assessing damage Wednesday after tornadoes hit the region.

Officials in Mississippi said eight to 10 houses were damaged in Star, a fringe suburb southeast of Jackson. Trees for a time blocked U.S. 49, a major highway.

Damage was also reported from an earlier storm near Baskin, Louisiana, a rural town southeast of Monroe.

No injuries were reported in Mississippi. National Weather Service reports show two people injured when a mobile home was damaged in Baskin.

“We were blessed not to have injuries,” tweeted Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, adding it’s “still a difficult time for these families.”

Star resident Cameron Knight told WAPT-TV he was driving home when the wind picked up and started blowing his truck around. Knight said his brother called him crying.

“I was just hoping everyone was OK,” Knight said. “Debris was going everywhere. When I pulled up, we had a tree down in our driveway that barely missed our house, but it did hit my mom’s car and my brother’s car.”

Knight said his father’s two classic Mustangs were heavily damaged by the tornado.

Baskin resident Betsy Wood told KTVE-TV she and her relatives huddled together and prayed, saying she told someone: “We’re fixing to get blowed away.”

“You could hear stuff hitting the house and scattering all around,” said Wood. Her house wasn’t seriously damaged, although several outbuildings were destroyed.

The National Weather Service on Wednesday confirmed a twister with estimated peak winds of 120 mph (190 kph) touched down near Star, traveling 12 miles (19 kilometers) before lifting off again. The storm’s path was as wide as 500 yards (450 meters). A second tornado was confirmed with estimated peak winds of 95 mph (150 kph), traveling about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from near Puckett to near Polkville. Little if any structural damage was reported from that storm.

National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Byrd said tornadoes around Thanksgiving in Mississippi are not unusual. November is among the most active months for twisters in the region.

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