| TUPELO, Miss.
TUPELO, Miss. Feb 11 Authorities were assessing
the damage on Monday caused by a swarm of tornadoes and severe
weather that ripped through seven Mississippi counties, injuring
dozens of people as homes and other buildings were torn apart.
"It's definitely in the dozens," Mississippi Emergency
Management spokesman Greg Flynn said of the total number of
residents injured by the twisters.
He said no deaths had been reported after a tornado believed
to be at least a mile wide touched down in Hattiesburg,
Mississippi, shortly before sunset on Sunday, but two people
hospitalized in Lamar County suffered critical injuries.
The National Weather Service said it counted at least three
separate twisters across south-central Mississippi.
At least 100 homes sustained some damage or were badly
mangled in the tornadoes and other buildings that were damaged
included parts of the University of Southern Mississippi, Flynn
He said most students at the university were off campus for
the Mardi Gras holiday when the twister damaged several
buildings there, including a performing arts center and an
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant declared a state of
emergency in all seven counties hit by the severe weather and
power outages continued across a widespread area as a steady
rain fell on Monday.
"The bad thing is, it keeps raining," said Flynn. "It's
supposed to rain all day today and then all day tomorrow.
"We've already had flash-flooding issues and the creeks and
the streams are all overtopped. It's just going to make things a
lot more difficult in the recovery process."
(Writing by Tom Brown; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Dan