A day after tornadoes killed 14 and ripped up homes in Arkansas and other states, the U.S., particularly the state of Mississippi and the U.S. Southeast, have been barraged anew with fresh storms that further damaged hundreds of homes, downed power lines and toppled trees.
Tupelo, Mississippi, got blasted on Monday by a twister, ripping its north and west sides at about 3 pm (2.00 pm ET). "It was real bad. We're trying to pull people out," Bart Aguirre, Tupelo Police Chief, told Reuters. Emergency crews were seen going house to house, searching for survivors under damaged buildings.
"It is not over. This is going to be a prolonged storm," Governor Phil Bryant told CNN. Tupelo has yet to report deaths or injuries after six instances of tornadoes ripping through the state.
Much as that it's a very serious situation, Jason Shelton, Tupelo Mayor, urged residents to stay inside their houses and remain on alert. "There is still a very real danger of another line coming through and people still need to be inside."
The city has announced a 9 pm (10:00 pm ET) curfew and has closed all main roads in and out of Tupelo. A number of residential areas were ordered to be closed as emergency crews checked downed power lines and gas leaks.
Weather forecasters, as early as last week, warned millions of Americans to prepare for a round of severe storms, including widespread tornadoes. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) on Friday said that Arkansas was highly to become a bull's-eye target for tornadoes and storms. That early, it issued a moderate risk for storms level for the state.
On Sunday, the tornado watch became a reality and ripped the state for about 80 miles, killing at least 14 people.
"Everything is just leveled to the ground," Vilonia resident Matt Rothacher told Reuters. "It cut a zig-zag right through town."
"These homes, these lives, won't be put back together anytime soon. It will be a long road to healing for these families."
Despite the crippled houses and other damages, a number of the residents still heaved a sigh of relief and remain grateful.
"I went to a tornado shelter myself with my family which was a couple miles away from where we were at. A lot of people in the community were there. And so, it did work," Brad McNew, police chief at Vilonia, Arkansas, said.
"If you see the destruction that is here, even though we've lost some lives, there are many lives that was saved because of the storm warnings."