February 14, 2013 10:22:38 AM
JACKSON -- President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in the State of Mississippi following a massive tornado that destroyed or heavily damaged more than 800 homes in the southern part of the state.
Obama signed the declaration Wednesday and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in Forrest and Lamar counties, which were affected by Sunday's tornado and resulting severe weather. The National Weather Service says the tornado had maximum winds of 170 mph and forged a path three-quarters of a mile wide.
Disaster assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover.
Authorities say damage surveys are continuing, and more counties may be included after those are completed.