Nature unleashes fury, from the Delta across to East Mississippi

Weather dominates 2011 headlines with floods, tornados and many other turbulent conditions

MBJ’s stories on May 23 by Wally Northway and Clay Chandler, chronicled the devastation of the spring floods of 2011, which rivaled, in many ways, destruction from Hurricane Katrina as well as the Great Delta Flood of 1927.

Bad weather made 2011 a year to forget. The losses from tornadoes, flooding and drought are still being calculated.

In April, the state suffered one of the worst tornado outbreaks in history. Hardest hit was the Town of Smithville, a community of less than 1,000 that was hit by an EF-5 tornado on April 27 leaving 16 dead.

>> See related stories on 2011 MBJ’s Businessperson of the Year

While recovery efforts were still underway from those storms, the Mississippi River began an historic rise. Fears were high that the river would overtop the levees causing home and business owners to scramble for higher ground. Fortunately, the flood control measures held, but the Mississippi Delta is still reeling.

Ironically as some braced for floods, the rest of the state was experiencing a prolonged drought. The hot, dry weather began March 1 and lingered for months. South Mississippi was especially hard hit; 12 counties were eventually declared disaster areas.

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