Tornado emergency in Tupelo, Mississippi
Monday, April 28, 2014, 9:23 -
On Monday afternoon forecasters declared an emergency for Tupelo, Mississippi amid reports of a large twister on the ground.
It was spotted near Unity, with width of about 1 kilometre.
A warning was issued for several counties in the area. Meanwhile, radar spotted a large debris ball swirling at a height of approximately 35,000 feet.
Social media was flooded with images of severe damage following the storm.
"A National Weather Service survey crew investigated suspected tornado damage in Tupelo, Mississippi this afternoon," reads a statement by the National Weather Service.
"It was determined that damage was tornadic ... and at least EF-2 on the enhanced Fujita scale."
EF-2 wind speeds range between 179 and 218 kilometres per hour.
"The damage, as far as residential and commercial property is very devastating," said Tupelo mayor Jason Shelton at a Monday press conference.
"There's a widespread total loss in various parts of the city. Thankful right now there have been no reports of causalities. There have been, of course, non-life threatening injuries fairly widespread, but no causalities as of right now."
Mayor Shelton added that police, fire department, public works and park and recreation representatives have been going door-to-door to check on residents.
RELATED: Twister outbreak predictable
Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama are also at risk of experiencing severe weather through the evening.
“It’s going to be wave after wave of these storms, from what the forecasters tell us,” Mississippi Emergency Management spokesman Greg Flynn told local media.
Monday's storms hit four years after an April 2010 tornado that killed 10 people in the state.
This latest round of severe weather comes on the heels of a brutal band of storms that battered the central Plains and mid-South late Sunday, killing more than a dozen people in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma.
Some of the worst damage over the weekend was north of Little Rock, Arkansas, where reported tornadoes devastated the towns of Mayflower and Vilonia.
TUPELO TORNADO EMERGENCY: SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATES
Utility pole & crushed utility truck on hwy 45 in tupelo pic.twitter.com/2UxFEUfCyz— Tish Clark (@local24tish) April 28, 2014
One of my best high school memories, gone. pic.twitter.com/9rPy032rGv— Kyle Holliman (@thekholly11) April 28, 2014
Thankfully everyone was out of buildings that I saw. Only minor injuries. #thankful— Charles M. Loring (@Charles_Loring) April 28, 2014
MAJOR damage in North Tupelo. This is serious guys! pic.twitter.com/QepqUO5ydp— Steven Heicher (@stevenheicher) April 28, 2014