Fast-moving thunderstorm spawns two damaging tornadoes in Mississippi

Fast-moving thunderstorm spawns two damaging tornadoes in Mississippi

Two tornadoes produced by a severe thunderstorm ripped through Ranking County, Mississippi on November 27, 2019, knocking down trees and powerlines. County Sheriff Bryan Bailey described the storm system as the fastest he has ever seen.

According to meteorologist Stephen Bowers, the Star tornado in Rankin County was classified as EF-2 with peak winds of 193 km/h (120 mph), which formed 23:57 LT (05:57 UTC) and ended 00:13 LT (06:13 UTC). The twister ended about 11 km (7 miles) north of Braxton.

Several homes received partial or major damage, while many trees were uprooted. No injuries were reported. At one point, hundreds of residents were without power after strong winds impacted electricity lines.

Meanwhile, the Polkville tornado in Smith County was classified as EF-1 packing 153 km/h (95 mph), which developed 00:26 LT (06:13 UTC) and lasted until 00:36 LT (06:36). The twister dissipated about 3 km (2 miles) south-southeast of the town.

"We walked out into the living room and the French doors blew open and the surge of wind knocked us down," a resident named Jacob Knight said.

Other residents named Jerry and Lynda Glass reside at Estrella Heights in Star where the tornado touched down. "We started to hear what sounded like hail but it turned out to be debris hitting the home," Jerry Glass said.

After the storm, the Glasses said their home had no structural damage but the motor home in their driveway "was totally destroyed."

"We had a ton of trees, about 300 of them. There's not a single tree standing," they added.

82-year-old longtime resident Emmet Clark said his house survived but his shed did not. "I couldn't believe it. I'm glad my house was okay but I feel for everybody else in the neighborhood."

"We drove down all the roads in the path of the storm and there were some trees down but it was minimal damage overall," said Heather Easterly, Smith County emergency management director.

On the other hand, Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey described the storm system as the fastest he has ever seen.

The tornadoes were part of a system in the Midwest that brought snow on one side and severe weather on the other.​

Featured image credit: NWS

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