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At least 23 killed in Mississippi tornado, storms


The death toll is expected to rise as search and rescue efforts continue in storm-ravaged areas.

At least 23 people have been killed after a tornado and severe storms swept through the US state of Mississippi.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) said there were “dozens injured” and four people missing as search and rescue teams combed through the devastation for survivors after the storm hit Silver City in western Mississippi.

“Unfortunately, these numbers are expected to change,” it said, referring to the death toll.

Search and rescue operations were underway in Sharkey and Humphreys counties, about 110 km (70 miles) north of the state capital Jackson, according to broadcaster ABC.

“We have activated medical support – more ambulances and other emergency resources for those affected. Search and rescue is active,” Governor Tate Reeves said on Twitter, warning residents to “check weather reports and remain cautious.”

‘It’s gone’

Resident Brandy Showah told CNN, “I’ve never seen anything like it… This was a great little town, and now it’s gone.”

TV footage showed homes being razed and debris scattered on roads as emergency services tried to reach those in need.

“As for the official damage numbers, we don’t get those until daylight in the morning,” said MEMA’s Malary White.

“Our number one priority right now, especially for the local first responders, is the safety of life and holding the people accountable and making sure they are safe,” she told CBS News affiliate WJTV.

Tornado warnings had been issued in several counties across the state on Friday, but at 2:48 a.m. (07:48 GMT) Saturday, the National Weather Service for Jackson said the “tornado watch has expired in our forecast area.”

“Additional rain and thunderstorms are expected in our area,” it said on Twitter, adding that it was “not expected to become severe.”

In January, at least seven people were killed in Alabama and Georgia after a massive storm system of strong winds and tornadoes hit some southern states of the United States.

Last month, a series of tornadoes swept through the middle of the US, leaving a trail of wreckage and injuries as winter storms brought extreme weather across the country.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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