May 1, 2014 10:38:28 AM
Damage survey teams from the National Weather Service in Jackson confirmed four tornadoes hit Lowndes County during Monday's severe weather outbreak.
Meanwhile, the county was one of seven in the state declared federal disaster areas by President Barack Obama, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant confirmed Wednesday night.
NWS announced that on-site studies concluded two EF-2 tornadoes, one in southern Lowndes County and another near New Hope. Two EF-1 tornadoes, one south of Steens and another in Crawford, were also confirmed by NWS.
An EF-2 consists of three-second gust wind speeds of 111-135 miles per hour, while an EF-1 has speeds of 86-110 miles per hour.
The declaration makes Lowndes County eligible for federal aid. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Public Assistance Program assists state and local governments by reimbursing up to 75 percent of eligible costs incurred from removing and disposing of storm debris from public rights of way and properties. It also provides the same amount of financial aid for emergency work, including overtime pay for first responders.
Other counties declared disaster areas included Itawamba, Lee, Madison, Rankin, Wayne and Winston.
As state and federal inspection teams continue to assess damage, additional categories of assistance including repairing and replacing public buildings as well as damaged roads could be added, Bryant said.
"We have experienced tragic loss of life as a result of these storms and tornadoes, and many Mississippians have lost their homes and all that they own," Bryant said in a release. "We have a strong working relationship with our partners at the local and federal levels, and I appreciate Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and the Mississippi congressional delegation for aiding in this quick response from the federal government. This assistance will help Mississippi do what it does best--rebuild and rebound in the face of adversity."
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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