A devastating belt of tornadoes slashed across Mississippi and Alabama in the American southeast on Tuesday (3 March) killing at least 57 people.
A devastating belt of tornadoes slashed across Mississippi and Alabama in the American southeast on Tuesday (3 March) killing at least 57 people. Hardest hit was the city of Jackson, where 20 dead are reported.
The tornadoes struck at Jackson in late afternoon causing widespread damage. The Candlestick Park shopping centre, a group of stores, was virtually leveled. Twelve people were killed there. The downtown business section was without power for nearly seven hours because the tornado had destroyed a transformer substation and transmission lines. The twisters then moved eastwards, striking at industrial areas, farms and small towns. Ultimately they caused damage in a belt reaching from Jackson nearly to the sea.
In Jackson, convicts and teenagers laboured side by side to clear the Candlestick Park wreckage and search for survivors. The state national Guard was alerted and moved into the city to prevent looting. Police reported that many areas of Jackson had been blocked off to prevent looting. There was extensive damage elsewhere in the city.
The tornadoes could be clearly seen in the late afternoon, appearing as menacing funnels dipping downwards from boiling black clouds. The severe cyclonic storms arose when a belt of unsettled weather passed eastwards across the southern Untied States.
After Jackson, the hardest hit area appeared to be Rankin County to the east, containing several industrial area. Jackson is a city of 250,000.