Overnight storms swat Southeast; 4 hurt in Mississippi
JACKSON, Miss. -- A line of severe storms packing strong winds and possible tornadoes swept across the Southeast overnight, injuring four people in Mississippi, downing power lines and trees and damaging homes around the region, authorities said early Thursday.
Nearly 900 customers lost electricity in Arkansas, where some buildings were damaged but no injuries were reported. Storms also raked western Tennessee, toppling trees in a mobile home park north of Memphis and forcing some residents out of their homes. No injuries were reported.
Mobile homes were also damaged in northern Mississippi's Union County.
In Louisiana, authorities reported trees down in at least two parishes and one home with a damaged roof when part of the front swept through that state.
"These were severe storms that produced damaging winds," said Jeff Rent, a spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
At least six northern counties in Mississippi reported damage, Rent said. He said experts would check for further reports of damage Thursday and would inspect damage locations to determine if any tornadoes had touched down.
A worker at Mississippi's Sharkey Issaquena Community Hospital in Rolling Fork said four people had been taken there in stable condition with injuries and two were sent on to the University Medical Center in the state capital of Jackson. A University Medical Center spokeswoman later said the two injured sent there were in good condition.
Radar weather maps overnight showed a huge, arcing front that swept across Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and parts of states such as Louisiana and Alabama on its march eastward on a jagged slant.
Meteorologist Greg Dial at the national Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma said there had been reports of possible tornadoes in some parts of the country.
"Most of the tornadoes have been from extreme eastern Arkansas into northwestern and west-central Mississippi," Dial said.
He said the storms extended from southwest Louisiana northeastward over several states, advancing on portions of Alabama and Georgia, among other areas.
Meteorologist Brian Koeneke at the National Weather Service in Jackson said the severe weather warnings in his state were widespread during the night. The National Weather Service had begun issuing tornado watches and warnings for many areas of Mississippi beginning late Wednesday afternoon and expanding those as the hours wore on.
In Mississippi, dispatcher Erica Severson with the dispatch office for Yazoo City and county said winds roughed up some areas.
"We had a bunch of trees down and a bunch of power lines down," she told AP, adding there had been a report of a possible tornado in a nearby county.