Weather service confirms EF2 tornado struck Adams County Sunday

Published 7:00 pm Monday, May 1, 2017

NATCHEZ — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency Monday, following several tornadoes throughout the state Sunday, including an EF2 twister that hit the Cloverdale area of Adams County.

Adams County Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford said Monday the National Weather Service confirmed an EF2 tornado hit the Cloverdale area. NWS representatives visited Adams County Monday to survey damage and reported wind speeds reached up to 115 mph, Bradford said.

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The Enhanced Fujita scale, or EF-scale, rates the intensity of tornadoes based on damage, with EF0 being the weakest category and EF5 the strongest.

The state of emergency declaration allows officials in affected areas to seek financial relief. Bryant was also seeking a federal disaster declaration.

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Mike Lazarus and Supervisor Ricky Gray were out surveying the damage and talking to residents Monday.

“We’re fielding a lot of calls,” Lazarus said. “People are wondering what we can do, and they’ve got a lot of questions. Mostly they want to know if we can pick up limbs and debris.”

Lazarus said county crews would begin this morning picking up limbs and debris from the storm. Lazarus asks that residents push debris to be picked up to the right-of-way so county workers can pick it up.

“We can’t go on private property unless there’s some kind of emergency, like if a tree falls on someone’s house and we know they’re in there,” Lazarus said. “But as far as picking limbs and debris up, people need to bring their stuff to the right-of-way.”

Lazarus said the county understands everyone will not be able to get all the debris to the roadside today and said it will likely be a weeks’ long process to clean up.

“We would ask they be patient, we are going to clean it all up,” Lazarus said. “We are going to do everything within the legal bounds to help these people out, because it’s a tragedy.”

Residents and work crews spent Monday cleaning up the battered Cloverdale area. Utility crews were in the area working to restore power.

Resident Judy Wiggins spent the day with her daughter Jeri Emerick cleaning up Emerick’s house, which was heavily damaged in the storm, and a nearby rental house.

“We have been throwing out insulation, dragging out clothes, all the dishes are broken because the kitchen is destroyed,” Wiggins said.

Down at the other house, Wiggins said, workers were attempting to put a roof back on the house.

The hum of generators and chainsaws was the soundtrack of Monday’s work to rebuild.

“It’s maddening it’s so loud,” Wiggins said. “But people are just busy, busy working away at cleaning up. It’s going to be a long, long drawn-out process, but we’re just plodding along.”

Sunday’s tornado was part of a severe weather outbreak across the South and Midwest that brought storms, tornadoes and flooding that claimed 18 lives in other parts of the country.