Deadly storm ravages Monroe County

 

The Monroe County volunteer fire station in Hamilton is destroyed after a Saturday night tornado touched down in the county. The storm killed one person in Hamilton, sent 19 more to the hospital and destroyed multiple buildings in town.

The Monroe County volunteer fire station in Hamilton is destroyed after a Saturday night tornado touched down in the county. The storm killed one person in Hamilton, sent 19 more to the hospital and destroyed multiple buildings in town. Photo by: Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch

 

Damage is pictured on Seely Drive in Hamilton.

Damage is pictured on Seely Drive in Hamilton.
Photo by: Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch

 

Gary Smith starts a chainsaw to remove a tree off of his mother's home on Seely Drive in Hamilton.

Gary Smith starts a chainsaw to remove a tree off of his mother's home on Seely Drive in Hamilton.
Photo by: Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch

 

Zach Nason helps clean up in the Craig Springs community in Oktibbeha County. The Saturday night tornado caused damage south and east of Starkville.

Zach Nason helps clean up in the Craig Springs community in Oktibbeha County. The Saturday night tornado caused damage south and east of Starkville.
Photo by: Austin Frayser/Special to The Dispatch

 

Debbie Allen's Hillbrook neighborhood in Oktibbeha County was affected by Saturday's tornado.

Debbie Allen's Hillbrook neighborhood in Oktibbeha County was affected by Saturday's tornado.
Photo by: Austin Frayser/Special to The Dispatch

 

The Craig Springs community in Oktibbeha County was struck in Saturday night's tornado.

The Craig Springs community in Oktibbeha County was struck in Saturday night's tornado.
Photo by: Austin Frayser/Special to The Dispatch

 

Recovery and repair is already underway in the Craig Springs community in Oktibbeha County. Dean Scarbrough, pictured, takes a break after helping cleanup debris.

Recovery and repair is already underway in the Craig Springs community in Oktibbeha County. Dean Scarbrough, pictured, takes a break after helping cleanup debris.
Photo by: Austin Frayser/Special to The Dispatch

 

 

Associated Press and Dispatch Staff Report

 

The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.

 

Powerful storms swept across the South on Sunday after unleashing suspected tornadoes and flooding that killed at least eight people and injured dozens, according to an Associated Press report.  

 

One Monroe County resident, as well as three children in other states, were among the dead. 

 

Roy Ratliff, 95, died after a tree crashed onto his trailer in northeastern Mississippi, Monroe County Road Manager Sonny Clay said at a news conference. Nineteen residents were taken to hospitals, including two in critical condition. A tornado was reported in the Monroe County area at the time. 

 

In Hamilton, 72-year-old Robert Scott said he had been sleeping in his recliner late Saturday when he was awakened and found himself in his yard after a tornado ripped most of his home off its foundation. 

 

His 71-year-old wife, Linda, was in a different part of the house and also survived, he said. They found each other while crawling through the remnants of the house they have lived in since 1972. 

 

"We're living, and God has blessed us," Scott, a retired manager for a grocery store meat department, said Sunday as neighbors helped him salvage his belongings. 

 

National Weather Service meteorologist John Moore said a possible twister touched down in the Vicksburg, Mississippi, area. No injuries were reported, but officials reported damage to several businesses and vehicles. 

 

 

 

Oktibbeha County 

 

In Oktibbeha County, Saturday's storms caused damage south and east of Starkville. 

 

The National Weather Service in Jackson confirmed Monday morning that two tornadoes touched down in Oktibbeha County. The first, an EF-2 with maximum winds of 113 miles per hour, started in northern Winston County and moved northeast, into Oktibbeha County through Craig Springs and stopped near James Road, just south of the intersection of Highway 25 and Old Highway 25. 

 

A second tornado, EF-1, touched down at 10:18 p.m. just east of the Starkville Country Club. It traveled northeast through Oktoc and Blackjack and stopped near Sand Creek and the Garden Homes of Highlands Plantation at 10:26 p.m. 

 

Neither tornado caused any injuries, and Oktibbeha County Emergency Management Director Kristen Campanella said no residents have been displaced. 

 

Campanella said 10 homes and a church were damaged in Craig Springs. In the Hillbrook subdivision off of Oktoc Road, about six homes were damaged and multiple trees were downed. Further damage has been reported east of Mississippi State University, such as downed trees near Aspen Heights and The Retreat apartments. 

 

As cleanup continues, Campanella advised residents to take pictures of damage before debris is removed. She also said if residents are paying for cleanup services and the service includes debris removal, it needs to be removed from their property and not just left at the road for the county to pick up. 

 

Jon Turner, public relations and marketing manager for 4-County Electric Power Association, said the cooperative had 46 outages that affected about 1,500 members after the storms. Turner said they were all resolved by Sunday afternoon. 

 

Terry Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities Department, said only one residence on Sand Road lost power during the storm. He said an apartment in the Cotton District had a tree fall on it and has had service suspended until the tree is removed. 

 

MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter, who provided Saturday evening updates on the storm's impact on the university, said MSU was spared from the worst of the storm. The university's South Farm Beef Unit was damaged and trees were down along Hail State Boulevard. 

 

"...Initial assessments are that we have no injuries, no visible structural damage and no significant impacts on normal campus operations," Salter said.

 

 

 

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UPCOMING AREA EVENTS

 

 

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