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Officials investigating storms, possible tornado

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Wind, hail and heavy rain damaged more than 40 homes in Central Mississippi and flooded roads, officials said today, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

A line of severe thunderstorms was sweeping across the Southeast, and there was a threat of tornadoes in northern Florida and Georgia.

Mike Edmonston, senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said officials were trying to determine if a tornado hit Simpson County in Mississippi yesterday. Experts were studying damage patterns before making a determination.

Three homes in Simpson County were destroyed and 40 others were damaged, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said.

Edmonston said floodwaters seeped into at least eight homes in Scott County. More than two-dozen roads were at least temporarily shut down in Copiah County due flooding, debris or damage, emergency officials said. Some areas along the Interstate 20 corridor saw between three inches and four inches of rain.

“We’ve got tons of damage reports, mainly hail, really,” Edmonston said.

Golf ball-sized hail hit Claiborne, Copiah, Rankin and Simpson counties, with smaller hail in other areas.

Edmonston said golf ball-sized hail was also reported across the state line in Tensas Parish Louisiana and lightening blew out the back window of a police car in Franklin Parish.

Hail was reported as far north as Grenada in Mississippi, but most of the largest chunks of ice fell in Central Mississippi. One report, Edmonston said, was that hail accumulated four inches deep in Simpson County.

Strong wind also knocked down trees in many areas.

Source: Associated Press

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