At least 19 people have been killed after a powerful tornado whipped through rural Mississippi, and led to flattening homes and knocking out power for thousands.
According to the National Weather Service of the United States, the tornado hit Silver City and Rolling Fork on Friday night and caused damage about 60 miles (96 km) northeast of Jackson, Mississippi.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Rolling Fork resident Brandy Showah said. “This was a very great small town, and now it’s gone.”
Former mayor Fred Miller said a great deal of the town has been destroyed, including all the businesses on a commercial and retail stretch of a local road.
The mayor of Rolling Fork, Eldridge Walker, said he had gotten stuck inside his home after the tornado hit.
A meteorology professor at the University of Northern Illinois, Walker Ashley, warned that the storm system was a supercell, the kind that brew the deadliest tornadoes and most damaging hail in the US.
At least eight deaths were reported in the hard-hit Sharkey County, 60 miles northwest of Jackson. Three others got killed and at least two people are in critical condition in Humphreys County.
Tornado emergency has been issued for the inflicted areas. This is a term used when there is a severe threat to life and when reliable sources have confirmed a tornado.
Nearly 80,000 homes and businesses across Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama faced power outages, according to the tracking site PowerOutage.us.
Earlier this month, powerful storms that swept across the South took the lives of at least 13 people and left hundreds of thousands of customers without electricity.