— Jay Ward (@jayward11) April 28, 2014
Tupelo, Mississippi, home to 35,000 residents, suffered a direct hit this afternoon from a violent weather system. It’s the latest community rocked by the deadly tornadoes that have been terrorizing the South and Plains regions since Sunday.
Here’s what we know so far about this breaking story.
1. It Was a Mile Wide
Winds were reported up to 170 mph, with the Tupelo tornado estimated to be 1 mile wide.
It was first spotted by storm chasers at 2:43 p.m. local time.
According to the Weather Channel, “around 2:50 the tornado reportedly crossed through the intersection of US-45 and US-78 through the northern limits of Tupelo.”
WTVA TV was forced to evacuate mid-broadcast as the tornado approached, resulting in the harrowing video seen above.
— CAROLINAS FIRE PAGE (@CFPalerts) April 28, 2014
2. Debris Was Flying 35,000 Feet Into the Air
— Kathryn Prociv (@KathrynProciv) April 28, 2014
3. Photos Have Emerged of Devastating Damage
MAJOR damage in North Tupelo. This is serious guys! pic.twitter.com/QepqUO5ydp
— Steven Heicher (@stevenheicher) April 28, 2014
Don Lewis, the city’s chief operations officer, tells the Clarion Ledger that there is damage to houses and cars in the northern part of the city.
Several tractor-trailers were blown off the highway, reports the Memphis NBC affiliate.
Dramatic images are flooding social media, including these jaw-dropping before-and-after shots:
— AviWxChasers (@AviWxChasers) April 28, 2014
— Tom Yazwinski Q13Fox (@TomYazwinski) April 28, 2014
4. One Person is Dead
Schools were out early…warnings were given for Tupelo…Search and Rescue underway pic.twitter.com/kndEqX9kfl
— Jimmy Carter (@askjimmycarter) April 28, 2014
There is one confirmed death so far, reports WMC-TV. The victim is reported to have been driving a car that was blown off the road in Verona close to Tupelo.
— Robbie Ward (@r0bbie_ward) April 28, 2014
5. One of the Worst Tornadoes in History Struck Tupelo
In 1936, Tupelo was struck by a tornado that is known as one of the worst in American history. It killed 216 people and injured some 700.
Elvis Presley, then a baby, was among the survivors.