Tornadoes cause damage in Mississippi; Tupelo hit at night

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JACKSON, Miss. — Multiple tornadoes were reported across Mississippi, causing some damage but no immediate word on injuries as a line of severe storms rolled through the state Sunday afternoon and into the nighttime hours.

Late Sunday, meteorologists declared a “tornado emergency” for Tupelo and surrounding areas. The mayor said in a statement that damage had been reported and emergency crews were assessing.

A Tupelo mother and son were clinging to safety as they hid inside of a closet.

“Our house started to shake, and I was telling him get deeper in the corner and just stay there, just stay right there,” said Marlena Triplett, who was with one of her sons.  “I’m lost. I’m numb. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Her house, just a mile from downtown, is one of the worst to see damage in the city. Large uprooted trees had fallen into her home.

“The tree that fell the closest to where we were, it kind of like shifted just a little bit and missed our location where we were at,” Triplett said.

You have to go through downed power lines, walk on tree limbs and pass at least three uprooted trees to get to the home where Nicole Garth’s elderly father lives, a  few doors down from Triplett.

He was in his home alone and had nowhere to hide, she said. He could only move to the other side of the house.  

“He thought something was picking up the house,” Garth said.

Dozens stopped by the neighborhood to see the tornado damage for themselves, take pictures and check on loved ones. 

It was only a matter of time before neighbors started helping neighbors.

“I wanted to come up and help out. That’s what I do,” said Andrew Dilworth, who drove from a town about 40 minutes away. “I feel like that’s how I get my blessings. I just wanted to come up here and show some support.”

Dilworth saw the news about what happened, picked up his chain saw and headed north.

“I’m not looking for no money. I feel like God is going to bless me no matter what. That’s why I do what I do,” he said.

The look of the neighborhood can be disappointing but the hearts of those willing to lend a hand brings a sense of comfort.

News outlets also reported tornadoes near Yazoo City, Byram and Tchula earlier in the day. Several people posted images of funnel clouds on social media.

No injuries were immediately reported.

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