UPDATE: 01/21/2017 10:24am Governor Bryant will be touring the damage by air after he lands. He was in Washington, D.C. for the Inauguration. It is not yet known if he will hold a formal press conference.
UPDATE: 01/21/2017 9:02am Three people are now confirmed dead in Forrest county.
UPDATE: 01/21/2017 8:07am Governor Phil Bryant asks the public to join he and his wife Deborah in praying for those affected by the severe weather:
Hattiesburg, Mississippi (WJTV/WHLT) – At least one person in confirmed dead in Hattiesburg after severe weather hit much of Mississippi overnight.
Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict is en route to a location where several injuries occurred.
ONE death CONFIRMED in Forrest county, Forrest Coroner Butch Benedict is expecting more but again not yet CONFIRMED there is more.
— Katey Roh (@kateyroh_tv22) January 21, 2017
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) says it is receiving reports of extensive damage from ongoing severe weather on the morning of Saturday, January 21, 2017. In a written release from MEMA structural damage is reported in Forrest, Lamar, and Perry counties. MEMA is coordinating response efforts.
The release includes the following statement: “Search and Rescue teams are being deployed to assist Forrest County emergency management in the Hattiesburg area. The Mississippi Highway Patrol is reporting Interstate 59 north of Hattiesburg is closed due to debris. There are power lines and debris over a large area so the public is asked to avoid travelling. The State Emergency Operations Center is activated providing resources as needed from counties.”
WHLT’s Katey Roh reports that trees and powerlines are down in several locations on Highway 49. A traffic sign was uprooted and fell on the roof of a business on Highway 49.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is being frequently updated. Check back regularly for updates.]
William Carey University, based in Hattiesburg and Biloxi, reported via social meeting that they are working to ensure that its students are safe. Damage is being reported to dormitories and buildings there.
This morning WIlliam Carey University, based in Hattiesburg and Biloxi, tweeted the following:
Just before 3:00am the National Weather Service in Jackson indicates that golf ball-sized hail was reported in northwest Lincoln County, Mississippi via social media: