Update: Federal disaster assistance approved for Christmas Day storm victims
The severe storms and historic tornado outbreak on Christmas Day left at least 22 people injured and nearly 190 homes and businesses damaged or destroyed, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) reported Friday.
MEMA said damage assessments from Dec. 25 storms revealed at least 188 homes and businesses with varying degrees of damage across a dozen counties affected. This included 105 homes and businesses that were either destroyed or sustained major damage.
The most extensive damage and injuries occurred from a long-tracked EF-3 tornado (140 mph winds) that remained on the ground for over 60 miles across parts of five counties in southeast Mississippi.
Pearl River County was hardest hit by this tornado, where 27 homes and three apartments were destroyed, and another 26 homes and a public building were damaged.
Authorities reported at least a dozen people suffered non-life threatening injuries as this lone tornado went on to cause other significant damage in northwestern Stone County, southeastern Forrest County, southern Perry County and western Greene County.
More view slideshow: Christmas Day tornadoes caused major damage in South Mississippi
Four other more short-lived tornadoes caused significant damage across parts of southern Mississippi including in Wilkinson, Amite, Lauderdale, Lawrence and Jones counties.
This outbreak of tornadoes on Christmas Day was overall the largest on record, dating back to 1950 with at least 27 confirmed across four states including in Mississippi (5), Alabama (15), Louisiana (5) and Texas (2). The previous long-standing record for tornadoes on Christmas Day was 12 in 1969.
Apart from the tornadoes, other damage and injuries occurred from strong winds in Hinds County, where a large tree was blown down and destroyed a home. Two people inside were injured.
At least two other homes sustained some wind damage in George County, while some localized significant flooding was reported in Monroe County during Tuesday’s storms, the agency said.
Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency on Tuesday so state money could be used to help local governments quickly recover.
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