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Storm damage, floods prompt state of emergency for a dozen Mississippi counties

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Severe storms and excessive rainfall from Sunday into early Monday have prompted a state of emergency for portions of Mississippi.

Gov. Phil Bryant declared the state of emergency late Tuesday (April 8) for 12 Mississippi counties that sustained storm damage and or impacts from ongoing flooding.

The counties under the emergency declaration include Chickasaw, Covington, Hinds, Holmes, Jones, Kemper, Marion, Neshoba, Newton, Noxubee, Simpson and Yazoo counties.

The state of emergency is an administrative tool that authorizes the use of additional state resources to aid in storm response efforts.

"Multiple counties in Mississippi have been impacted by these storms. High water remains in many areas and could continue to rise if we see additional rainfall. Residents should avoid floodwaters and take all necessary safety precautions," Gov. Bryant said. "MEMA and other state agencies are working to assist the counties and residents that have been impacted, and this state of emergency declaration will allow the use of additional tools and resources as we respond to this weather event."

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate response for the ongoing flooding, and recovery from severe weather.

The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes struck portions of the state.

In Covington County, an EF-2 tornado with winds of 125 mph caused a 16-mile-long path of destruction with dozens of homes and buildings impacted early Monday. Eight people suffered injuries. In Neshoba County, an EF-1 tornado caused damage to homes along a 1.25-mile-long path. No injuries were reported in this tornado.

In addition to the tornadoes, excessive rainfall more than a half-foot drenched much of central Mississippi, causing many rivers, creeks and streams to rise above flood stage and overflow their banks, shutting down numerous roads including US Highway 49 in both directions in Simpson County.

Residents are asked to report any damage to their county emergency management director. A directory of those directors can be found on the MEMA website, www.msema.org, and on MEMA's free mobile phone app.

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