The National Weather Service (NWS) on Wednesday confirmed two tornadoes hit Bolivar County Tuesday night.
NWS said the first tornado, rated an EF-0 tornado with 75 mph winds, touched down three miles east of of the town of Scott near the Stringtown community around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. This tornado downed a large tree and caused minor roof damage to three homes in the area.
A second more intense tornado touched down several hours later, six miles southwest of the city of Cleveland near the Skene community around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, according to the NWS. This tornado, rated an EF-1 with 100 mph winds, downed a number of power lines and power poles along its damage path.
In addition to the tornadoes, the NWS and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said they received wind damage reports from 31 counties.
Most of the wind damage consisted of downed trees and power lines but some structural damage to homes and businesses was also reported.
Lee County Emergency Management Director Lee Bowdry said several businesses in the Huntington Square shopping center off McCullough Boulevard in Tupelo received significant damage. One business, The Furniture Center, had its entire facade blown off.
In Pontotoc County, Emergency Management Director Rickey Jaggers reported 20 houses and four businesses received damage.
In Leake County, emergency management officials reported two recreational vehicles were destroyed at the Carthage Coliseum with several structures including the county extensive building and county unemployment building sustaining minor roof damage. A farm trailer was also reportedly overturned with roller doors to a maintenance shop blown out.
In the Philadelphia area of Neshoba County, emergency management officials said the corner of a building was blown out by the strong winds.
Despite the tornadoes and damaging winds, there was only one minor injury reported in Monroe County, where an individual rode a four-wheeler into a downed power line that luckily was not energized.
“We were very fortunate that only one minor injury was reported,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham. “Our residents took the warnings seriously, and it shows that preparedness works.”
The severe weather outbreak, which also affected several other states across the South and prompted tornado watches over 71 of the state's 82 counties, led to two deaths and more than two dozen injuries.
A man seeking shelter in early Wednesday storms in the Nashville, Tenn. area was crushed by a fallen tree and another man was killed in his mobile home during a powerful tornado in Adairsville, Ga.
The outbreak was ignited primarily from an unusually warm and moist airmass that surged temperatures across the region some 15 to more than 25 degrees above normals for this time of year out ahead of a strong cold front.
Temperatures across parts of Mississippi reached record highs in the 70s to around 80 degrees. Normal highs for the latter part of January are typically in the mid and upper 50s to around 60 along the coast.