DeSoto County tornadoes rated EF-1
Photo: Some of the damage from tornadoes that swept through parts of DeSoto County Friday night, March 31 (DeSoto County Government/Facebook)
Preliminary assessments of the storms that came through DeSoto County Friday night, March 31, have placed the tornadoes at an EF-1 rating by the National Weather Service, said DeSoto County Emergency Services Director Chris Olson to the County Board of Supervisors on Monday, April 3.
Olson said the first system that entered the county had activated a tornado warning shortly after 7 p.m. The tornado warning was extended two more times before the county was cleared about 8:25 p.m.
However, a second storm formed and entered the county about 8:45 p.m. and warnings issued stayed in effect until 9:45 p.m.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency officials said about 20 home damage reports had been received in DeSoto County after the severe weather of that night.
A host of people were thanked Monday for helping to come in and assist in cleanup, but Olson said citizens really stepped up to assist.
“They heeded the warnings. They took shelter and paid attention,” Olson said. “We don’t always get that and it was an overwhelming amount of that and it put people in a safe environment. The other part was that citizens came out and helped. They were out helping clean up with the road department, the volunteer fire department, search and rescue teams. That was a great community response.”
Supervisor President Ray Denison credited the early warnings received for helping save lives.
“The last three tornadoes we’ve had no loss of life,” Denison said. “That’s in large part due to the pre-notification that we get. We knew that these storms were coming. As I drove through the Koko Reef area, you could kind of get a sense of what the severity of damage was.”
That was one of the hardest-hit areas in DeSoto County last weekend, and caused U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) to visit and survey the damage on Saturday.
While certainly concerned about DeSoto County, supervisors are also wanting to help fellow Mississippians suffering from earlier storms, Rolling Fork in particular, and Denison said an action plan would be put together to reach out to those areas.
“We have an idea of going in to help, and/or send local aid,” Denison said. “We are going to have conversations about that later. We have to keep our county in mind first but we definitely want to reach out to do what we can do to help from a government standpoint and a volunteer standpoint.”