Tornado kills 23 and brings devastation to Mississippi

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The tornado damaged several towns in rural Mississippi

At least 23 people were killed in the tornado that swept through the US state of Mississippi on Friday night.

Many more are feared to be trapped in the rubble of the collapsed buildings.

Tornadoes wreaked havoc in several rural towns, where trees and power lines were uprooted and tens of thousands of power outages were reported.

Several southern states were also hit by powerful storms.

Golf ball sized hail and heavy rain were reported in many parts of the state.

Residents of Rolling Fork, a small town in western Mississippi, said a tornado blew windows out of the back of their homes. The damage in the area is reported to be particularly severe.

Local resident Brandi Showa told CNN: “I’ve never seen anything like this… It was a great little town, and now it’s gone.”

Cornell Knight told The Associated Press that he, his wife and their three-year-old daughter were at a relative’s house in Rolling Fork and it was “quiet” just before the tornado hit. The sky was dark, but “you could see the direction from every transformer,” he said.

The tornado hit another relative’s home, where a wall collapsed, trapping several people inside, he said.

Others were trapped in piles of rubble, some law enforcement units were unaccounted for in Sharkey County.

A local weather forecaster, alarmed by the strength of the hurricane hitting the city of Ameri, briefly paused his television forecast to pray for the city’s residents.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said on Twitter that search and rescue teams were providing medical assistance to victims.

“Many of the MS [Mississippi] Delta needs your prayers and God’s protection tonight. Watch the weather reports and stay alert all night, Mississippi!”, Mr Reeves wrote.

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