Tornadoes rip through three states - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Tornadoes rip through three states

(Photo source: Paige Roberts/American Red Cross) (Photo source: Paige Roberts/American Red Cross)

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

YAZOO CITY, MS (WLOX) - Crews spent Sunday in Central Mississippi cleaning up and digging for survivors. The National Weather Service reports the tornado that ripped through parts of Mississippi packed winds up to 160 miles per hour.

The deadly weather system which moved across three states left 12 dead as of Sunday night.

The National Weather Service said the tornado that ripped through parts of Mississippi was an EF-3 tornado. An EF-5 is considered the most severe tornado. Meteorologists do not yet know whether it was one continuous tornado, or a series of tornados that moved across the three states.

Forecasters said the tornado that ripped across west-central Mississippi was a mile and half wide. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said the storm claimed lives in Yazoo, Holmes and Choctaw counties. Authorities in Alabama reports two storm-related deaths in Albertsville, Alabama.

As in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Governor Haley Barbour said many of the storm victims will need temporary housing. As of Sunday night, MEMA officials said 681 homes had been damaged across six Mississippi counties.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said 60 Mississippi National Guardsmen have been sent to Choctaw and Yazoo Counties. Relief organizations like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army are handing out food and setting up shelters for storm victims. State officials set up at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson to take donations of bottled water and nonperishable food for victims of Saturday's tornadoes.

MEMA is partnering with the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service to coordinate emergency relief efforts in Yazoo City. Together, they've set up the Volunteer Reception Center which will oversee volunteers and national service members. The volunteers are needed to assist in the removal of fallen trees, destroyed homes, as well as the clearing of other debris.

Anyone wanting to help can register at www.volunteermississippi.org or by calling 888-353-1793. Registered volunteers will be contacted as additional assistance is needed.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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