ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Trees tumbled and some buildings were damaged yesterday, but few injuries were reported as a strong cold front pushed a line of thunderstorms across Mississippi.
Starkville, where a sharp, brief storm hit just after 5 p.m., was among the hardest-hit locations.
“There is a potential it could have been a microburst,” said David Cox, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s Jackson office.
Adam Weaver, a meteorology student at Mississippi State University, said it’s the wildest weather he’s ever seen firsthand, as five large pine trees around his house came crashing down.
“You could just hear the wind crashing and smell the fresh wood,” Weaver told The Associated Press. “I’ve seen plenty of video and heard plenty of stories, but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it in person.”
Trees fell on two homes and at least one business, as well as some cars. The wind was accompanied by half-dollar-sized hail. Hail was also reported Monday in Carroll, Clay, Hinds, Jefferson, Monroe and Warren counties.
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said most of the city’s 11,000 electric customers lost power for a time.
“It came out of nowhere — just very strong winds and hail,” said Wiseman, who was at home with his family. “It was gone as quick as it came.”
The weather also left its mark in neighboring areas. Trees also fell on at least three houses in and around Columbus, causing minor damage, said Lowndes County Emergency Manager Cindy Lawrence. Power outages were widespread in Noxubee County.
But damage was scattered statewide, with rough weather continuing into the night in southeastern Mississippi. A tree was reported to have fallen through a house in Lumberton after sunset.
A fertilizer warehouse in Greenville lost much of its roof about 1 p.m. yesterday, but Washington County Emergency Manager David Burford said no one was injured.
“It was just a real big target and it took a real big hit,” Burford said of the warehouse, which belongs to the Gavilon Group, based in Omaha, Nebraska.
Some injuries from car collisions were reported in Starkville. WLBT-TV reported that two people were injured in a two-vehicle collision during the rain on U.S. 49 in southern Rankin County near Florence. That area and neighboring Simpson County saw some of the most widespread power outages, along with Warren County. More than 15,000 electrical customers lost power statewide at various times.