Official: At least 3 confirmed dead in Miss. after tornadoes touched down

Posted at 8:13 PM, Dec 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-23 22:19:08-05

(AP) — At least three people have been confirmed dead in Mississippi after multiple tornadoes swept through the state.

Greg Flynn, a spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency management Agency, says at least one death was confirmed in Marshall County Wednesday. He says there are reports of other deaths, but could not confirm any more.

Flynn also reports more than 40 injuries in six counties but that number could rise as the night goes on.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office, which neighbors Marshall County, also confirmed at least two dead and between two and four people reported missing.

Neither agency had any details as to ages or gender of the deceased.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office says search-and-rescue crews are currently doing a house-by-house search to make sure residents are accounted for.

Storm Prediction Center meteorologist Matt Mosier says a preliminary report shows that there were 14 tornadoes  to touchdown in Mississippi.

Mosier says the tornadoes raced for more than half an hour for about 100 miles. He says it went from the Mississippi River to the northern part of the state including Holly Springs and eventually crossed the border of southwest Tennessee.

About an hour ago, Mosier says three other tornadoes touched down at the same time in northern Mississippi.

But Mosier says the storm system is indicating that the strong tornadoes are seemingly beginning to wind down. He says overnight winds are expected along with the possibility of isolated tornadoes.

In Como, Mississippi, Frances May said the storm didn’t seem very violent when it passed a couple of miles from her home, yet she later saw the remains of three or four homes that were destroyed.

“There are some houses that were blown away,” said May, who runs the Como Inn. “They were brick houses on a slab. The roofs came off and most of the walls are gone.”

The damage was very isolated, she said: Diners were still eating at a downtown steakhouse in the tiny town just a few miles from the devastation.