Mississippi Tornado Results in 23 Confirmed Deaths, Wipes Out Entire Town

Wonder Bolden cradles her year-old granddaughter Journey Bolden as she surveys the remains
Rogelio V. Solis/AP

A tornado in Mississippi resulted in at least 23 deaths and left an entire town “practically gone.”

WAPT reported a tornado “at least a mile wide” originating near Rolling Fork, Mississippi, devastated the area around 8 p.m. Friday. So far, 23 deaths have been reported, and the whereabouts of four others are not known.

The Sharkley County Emergency Management Agency announced at 9:24 a.m. Friday that most of the county would likely experience “possibly strong” tornadoes, as well as “damaging winds and large hail.” 

Posted by Sharkey County Emergency Management Agency on Friday, March 24, 2023

Citing Sharkley County Coroner Angelia Eason, WAPT reported “the whole town of Rolling Fork is practically gone.” The remains of six people were discovered in a single mobile home park and one married couple was found dead “after winds sent a neighbor’s 18 wheeler slamming into the house.”

“Complete and utter devastation. Just houses, roofs ripped off of houses, walls took down from houses,” Edgar O’Neil, a Rolling Fork resident, told WAPT. “I’ve seen several areas where parts of the concrete, the asphalt had been jacked up from the ground. I mean, complete devastation.”

The Clarion Ledger reported that Amory, Mississippi, nearly 200 miles away from Rolling Fork, was also hit. 

Brooks Dampeer, a football coach at Amory High School, described the area around the school as of 2:30 a.m. Saturday. 

“It’s kind of like a dream,” Dampeer told the Ledger. “That these things really happened. We’re walking over wires, watching our step and as your [sic] walking the whole time you’re thinking ‘Maybe it’s not as bad as we think at the school.’ We get there and it was bad.”

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) announced Saturday he had declared a state of emergency and been in touch with President Joe Biden about arranging support from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). 

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety announced it would be working with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce to collect donations of essential goods – including bottled water, canned goods, and paper products – at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds on Saturday.

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is partnering with Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and Mississippi…

Posted by Mississippi Department of Public Safety (Official) on Saturday, March 25, 2023


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