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Storms inflicts heavy damage on area; schools closed Tuesday

By Paul Keane

Large amounts of damage was inflicted on Wayne County Monday night and early Tuesday morning as a line of severe storms made its way through the area.

Wayne County Emergency Management Agency Director Angela Atchison reported at 1 a.m. Tuesday that multiple structures had been damaged, along with numerous trees falling and power lines coming down to the ground as the storms rolled through the area. She said the Matherville area appeared to be the hardest hit, as what she is calling a tornado began in the northwestern part of the county.

At some point, officials with the National Weather Service and Mississippi Emergency Management will assess the area and determine whether or not it was officially a tornado and what strength it might have been. Whether it was a tornado or not, though, the storms have had a toll on the county.

The storm inflicted damage on the Pleasant Grove-Sandersville Road and worked its way along Waller Ridge Road, Fred West Road, Harold Graham Road off the Waynesboro-Shubuta Road and worked its way to Mathersville-Diamond Road, Holly Bush Church Road, Toby Landrum Road, Duncan Hill Road, Jim Dearman Road, Spink-Hayes Road and possibly other roads. Rotation was indicated on the Buckatunna-Mt. Zion Road, but  no reports of a tornado touching down were filed.

A structure fire was reported on Susie Lassiter Drive in the Clara community.

A chicken house on Oscar Brownlee Road collapsed with workers inside. Some of the workers were injured, but no fatalities.

Atchinson said there have been multiple reports of injuries, but fortunately no fatalities. She said there have also been multiple reports of damage to homes, as well as power lines being downed.

All public schools will be closed on Tuesday, and Atchinson said she is trying to contact officials with Wayne Academy to recommend that it also be closed.

Officials are still assessing damage, and Atchinson said anyone with damage should report it by calling 9-1-1. She urges patience as the 9-1-1 Center was struck by lightning and dispatchers are working on a limited communication system.

Crews are out handling search and rescue efforts, clearing roadways and trying to gain access to all victims. Atchinson said she and emergency personnel are working as quickly as possible in order to reach people trapped in their homes.

She also urges everyone to remain sheltered in place at least until daylight, and then to go out and check on neighbors and loved ones as much as possible. She urges everyone to use extreme caution when traveling or checking on neighbors, and any downed power lines should be considered energized.

Atchinson said all residents should be cautious and remain prepared, as another round of storms are expected to make their way through the county sometime Tuesday.

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