No injuries reported in possible tornado in Tupelo

Published 10:20 am Thursday, May 8, 2008

TUPELO (AP) — An apparent tornado struck portions of Tupelo on Thursday, damaging areas near a large shopping mall and other structures but there no reports of injuries.

The damage occurred while several north Mississippi counties were under a tornado watch as another round of potentially severe weather moved across northeast Mississippi.

Cathy Gault, an employee with the Tupelo Fire Department, said units were sent to the area of Barnes Crossing Shopping Mall but no fires were reported. She said there were downed power lines in the area and some damage.

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The Lee County sheriff’s office said its officers had reported spotting a possible tornado moving in and out of the clouds in the Tupelo area during the morning hours, possibly containing debris.

There were numerous reports of downed trees and police reported some damage to a Mississippi Department of Transportation building.

Police and Lee County deputies were out assessing the damage, officials said.

Meanwhile, a number of northeast Mississippi counties and portions of northwest Alabama were under a tornado watch until mid-afternoon, with the possibility of severe storms elsewhere.

Areas of Mississippi, including the Jackson metropolitan area, have suffered damage in recent weeks as storm systems packing tornadoes slammed the state.

The National Weather Service in Jackson said the biggest threat in its coverage area included the possibility of large hail and damaging winds. The culprit is a cold front that advanced on the state from the west, bringing showers and thunderstorms.

Joanne Culin, a spokeswoman for the weather service, said most of the severe weather should end west of Interstate 55 by and in the remainder of the state late in the day.