30 Injured, Homes, Businesses Damaged By Mississippi Twister

March 31, 2009

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour surveyed tornado damage in Simpson County yesterday.

Nearly 30 people were injured and dozens of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed Thursday when a twister ripped through the town of Magee in Simpson County in south-central Mississippi.

Ninety-four homes statewide were reported as destroyed or having major damage, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. Another 209 homes had minor damage.

Barbour has declared a state of emergency, opening the door for federal aid, and cleanup continued Sunday in many parts of the state.

Barbour has requested U.S. Small Business Administration assistance, which would provide low interest loans for homeowners and renters to repair or replace disaster damaged personal property such as furniture and clothing or to repair disaster damaged primary residences.

Authorities have confirmed one death from the heavy rains that pushed through south Mississippi on Saturday, flooding streets, homes and swamping cars.

Eugene Dixon Jr., 36, was on his way home from work in the Forest Cove community around 2:30 a.m. when his vehicle was swamped by flood waters, D’Iberville Police Chief Wayne Payne said. Officers found Dixon’s body approximately 200 yards from his vehicle.

About 100 roads in southern Mississippi were impassable at the height of the bad weather because of flooding, including the main route into Biloxi, Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said. Some residents had to be rescued from stalled cars in flood waters.

The National Weather issued a flood warning Sunday for the Escatawpa River above Orange Grove in Jackson County. MEMA said the Pascagoula and Escatawpa rivers continued to rise, flooding as many as 130 Jackson County homes.

“There were a lot of areas we still couldn’t get up to,” said Donald Langham, Jackson County’s emergency operations director.

Langham said MEMA officials surveyed the flooding, but were unable to access roads near the community of Helena and Franklin Creek.

“The water’s still too high, hopefully we’ll be able to get up there by Tuesday or Wednesday,” he said.

Lacy said more than 200 homes in the Biloxi area sustained flood damage and two roads sustained major pavement washouts.

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