ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit the Louisville area last night has a preliminary rating of EF-4.
Mike Edmonston, senior meteorologist at National Weather Service in Jackson, confirmed the rating today.
An EF-4 rating means the tornado packed wind speeds of 170 to 190 mph.
Reports are pending on the tornado that struck the Tupelo area from the weather service in Memphis, Tenn.
The total death toll in Mississippi from yesterday’s storms has climbed to nine.
The University of Mississippi Medical Center reports medical responders in Louisville have transported 37 patients to various hospitals as of 8 a.m. today
UMMC spokesman Jack P. Mazurak says in a news release the most of the critical patients were taken to UMMC in Jackson.
He says others were taken to Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian, Baptist Golden Triangle in Columbus, Oktibbeha County Hospital in Starkville and North Mississippi Medical Center-Eupora.
Mazurak says another 50-100 patients were treated and released.
Mazurak says UMMC has an eight-bed mobile field unit hospital in Louisville and several teams to help local responders assess, triage and treat patients.
He says the Health Department is assessing damage to the Winston County Medical Center to determine if it must be closed.
In other storm-related news, Entergy Mississippi says about 9,600 customers remained without power at noon today from a high of 42,937 during yesterday’s tornadoes and severe weather.
Robbin Jeter, Entergy’s vice president of customer service, says the majority of the remaining outages are in Rankin, Hinds and Warren counties.
The National Weather Service is expecting more severe storms today with large hail, high winds, heavy rain and possible tornadoes to develop between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Ron Stewart, senior vice president of the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi, says 17,000 meters were without service today. He says at the height of yesterday’s storms 37,800 meters lost power, mostly in central and north Mississippi.
Outage figures from the Tennessee Valley Authority were not immediately available.
Also, Atmos Energy is asking emergency crews, customers and volunteers involved in tornado cleanup efforts in Mississippi to beware of potential natural gas leaks caused by the storms.
David Gates, president of Atmos Energy Mississippi division, says in a news release that the company is assessing damage from Monday’s storms.
Gates says residents should be careful in moving debris that could disturb buried gas lines.
In Louisville, Gates says Atmos shut off gas service to the Winston Medical Hospital and the clinic. He says gas service was also shut-off to about 300 homes throughout Louisville for safety reasons.
In addition, Atmos crews responded to more than 50 gas leaks in Tupelo and 10 in New Hope. All customer issues have been resolved in Rankin County and Noxapater.
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