At least 23 people have been killed and dozens more injured in Mississippi after a series of tornadoes ripped through the state Friday night. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing as authorities survey the destruction and assess the damage. President Joe Biden has called the devastation "heartbreaking" and offered federal support to Gov. Tate Reeves and local authorities in recovery efforts.
The worst impacts of the storm were felt in the rural towns of Silver City and Rolling Fork, where homes, businesses, and a hospital were completely destroyed. Witnesses described the devastation as "total" and "unreal" as they recounted tales of survival, including restaurant employees who huddled in a walk-in refrigerator to survive the tornado.
As of Saturday morning, over 15,500 households were left without power in Mississippi, along with 20,400 in Alabama and 53,700 in Tennessee. The National Weather Service has warned of remaining dangers in affected areas, including carbon monoxide poisoning from generators, food spoilage in fridges, and the potential for flooding. Nighttime tornadoes in particular are twice as likely to be deadly as daytime tornadoes.
Authorities are urging residents to remain vigilant and safe as the storm heads northeastward to the Great Lakes region, bringing gusts ranging from 40 to 60 mph, drenching rainfall and possible flooding.