MEMA confirms 12 deaths from Miss. tornadoes - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

MEMA confirms 12 deaths from Miss. tornadoes

"I'm not aware of a tornado of this magnitude hitting the heart of the city of Tupelo since the late 1930s," said Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton. "I'm not aware of a tornado of this magnitude hitting the heart of the city of Tupelo since the late 1930s," said Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton.
At least nine people, one of whom was in Lee County, died in Mississippi during the storms. At least nine people, one of whom was in Lee County, died in Mississippi during the storms.

(WMC) – Clean up is starting for many communities after two days of severe storms. A total of 12 people are confirmed to have died during the storms that blew through Miss; three people remain unaccounted for.

Tupelo, Miss. was one of the hardest hit areas in Mississippi. Click here to see pictures of the damage.

"I'm not aware of a tornado of this magnitude hitting the heart of the city of Tupelo since the late 1930s," said Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton.

Eighty years later, Mayor Shelton is one of the main people in charge of rebuilding the city, which was torn apart by Mother Nature on Monday afternoon.

"We hear the tornado sirens," said Shelton. "City Hall is three stories, we had all the employees from the top two levels come to the inner hallway of city hall, in interior rooms there."

At least 12 people, one of whom was in Lee County, died in Mississippi during the storms.

Karl Handsberger's business is gone, like many others along North Gloster Street. He feels thankful his life was spared.

"Like a lot of people, I wonder why God's got me here and what's my purpose in life, but I reckon he wasn't finished with me," said Handsberger.

"There were a lot of people at work and not in their homes in a residential neighborhood. Lot of those homes were completely destroyed," said the mayor. "It would be difficult to imagine how someone would survive had they been inside the home."

Hundreds of people are packed into shelters in Tupelo. A citywide curfew of 8 p.m. has been set for Tuesday.

"We ask people to resist that natural urge to see it for yourself and wait and give the first responders room to do their job," suggested Shelton.

Miss. Governor Phil Bryant is making sure every resource is in Tupelo to help. Fifty national guardsmen are already in town.

"These are people's lives here," said Bryant. "Blown throughout the neighborhood, laying in ditches."

The governor saw people like Brian Collins working hard to put their lives back together.

"It's utterly horrifying," said Collins. "Thinking about it from yesterday's vantage point and looking at it today."

"The region is unfortunately accustomed to tornadic activity, but there is not been one of this magnitude hit the City of Tupelo in many decades," said Shelton.

If you want to help, text to 'Red Cross' at 90999 to give a one-time $10 donation or go to RedCross.org.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.
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