Mississipi- A tornado left behind devastating rubble as it tore through Tupelo, Pontotoc County, and Calhoun City Sunday night. Local WTVA reported that “one area that took a hit from the twister was Park Hill neighborhood in Tupelo.” The report said that “people could easily see damaged homes, uprooted trees, and downed power lines.”
The tornado emergency was put into place after the destructive tornado touched down and stayed for a significant amount of time, carrying a “debris ball” into the atmosphere.
The tornado also ripped up parts of southeast Pontotoc County and Calhoun City. The Calhoun County Sheriff Greg Pollan reported no injuries, but the buildings weren’t so lucky. The report states that Sheriff Pollan “reported snapped light pole, trees on a few homes and vehicles.” “Several businesses” were also damaged by the tornado.
The National Weather Service Memphis (NWS Memphis) sent ominous warnings before the tornado headed to Tupelo. The National Weather Service (NWS) – who says that its mission is to “Provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.” – tweeted, “At 9:52 p.m. CDT, a confirmed large and destructive tornado was observed over Tupelo, moving northeast at 45 mph. Tornado Emergency for Tupelo.”
— NWS Memphis (@NWSMemphis) May 3, 2021
The warning stated that “this is a PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION. TAKE COVER NOW.”
The official NWS Memphis Twitter account tweeted around 9:56 p.m. CDT a video showing a red digital haze gliding over a map. The red indicating a tornado has touched down. The tweet said, “Tornado emergency for Tupelo! This is a life-threatening situation! Take cover now!”
A reporter with WJTV, Brad Logan, tweeted at 10:12 p.m. CDT, “Alert: Tupelo Fire Department can confirm a tornado on the ground at the intersection of Veterans Blvd and I-22 in Tupelo, MS.”
TORNADO EMERGENCY for Tupelo. MDOT cam showing tornatic winds pic.twitter.com/MlW3mdrQAk
— Will Day (@wx2day) May 3, 2021
An environmental meteorologist from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Will Day, tweeted a video showing the “Tornado Emergency” that happened in Tupelo. He explained that the MDOT cam footage showed the powerful “tornadic winds.”
A reported 100,000 people were forced to shelter from the damaging tornado that ripped through Tupelo, Pontotoc County, and Calhoun City. The NSW reported a shocking 19 tornados wreaked havoc on the region last night. The Chattanoogan reported that Tupelo’s mayor released a statement saying, “Emergency crews are currently assessing the degree of damage.”
The mayor’s office urged the residents to “not get out and drive.” The statement warned that conditions are “dangerous” due to incoming “reports that power lines are down on the roads.”
Weather reports indicate that this area will be hit with more severe weather this week as spring rain brings in thunderstorms and tornado warnings across the southeast.
A local 17-year-old, Tyquan Wofford, described to WTVA the experience of living through the tornado, saying, “Momma said it was a tornado getting ready to come through. Then all I heard was a tornado siren going off. And then I just heard ‘roof, roof, roof,’ and I heard ‘boom, boom, boom, boom.’ I didn’t know what was going on. I walked outside, and I saw trees down and everything.”
A tornado in Atlanta, from this same storm system, killed a man in his vehicle on Monday. It is reported that a downed tree caused powerlines to fall on the car.