April 15, 2011 11:53:00 AM
Lowndes and Clay counties were placed under a tornado warning shortly before noon Friday, as conditions showed a tornado was possible along a line from Highway 82 northeast toward Caledonia.
The line of severe storms earlier spawned a tornado Friday morning in Clinton in central Mississippi, and authorities reported extensive damage and multiple injuries.
The Lowndes and Clay warning was set to expire at 12:45 p.m.
The National Weather service detected a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado 10 miles west of Crawford, moving northwest at 40 mph.
In addition to Columbus and Caledonia, other locations under the warning included the Bent Oak, Tibbee, Waverly, Steens and Kolola Springs communities.
A dispatcher for the Clinton Police Department said the tornado touched down around 11 a.m. She said damage was widespread. She did not have precise figures on the number of people injured or the extent of their injuries.
The National Weather Service could not be reached for confirmation of the tornado but Clinton police said it was still on the ground at 11:15.
The line of storms was moving east in central Mississippi and tornado warnings were sounded in Jackson, about 10 miles from Clinton.
Heavy rain and hail were reported elsewhere in the state as the spring storm system pushed east.
There were reports of damage to a few mobile homes and other structures early Friday. The same line of storms had already killed two people in Oklahoma and at least four in Arkansas.
Leflore County Emergency Management director T.W. Cooper said at least two mobile homes and a storage shed were damaged or destroyed near Minter City. A significant number of trees were down in the area.
Daniel Lamb, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said the roof was blown off another mobile home in Issaquena County. The weather damaged a shop near the border of Washington and Bolivar counties.
A tornado watch was expected to remain in effect for a large portion of the state into Friday afternoon.
"It looks like it''s going to be a volatile set up," said Brian Koeneke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson. "We could have a few tornados and there''s the possibility for a strong tornado."
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