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Saturday, April 17, 2021

WCBI Special Coverage 5:30

Credit: WCBI
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WCBI Special Coverage 5:30
WCBI Special Coverage 5:30
WCBI Special Coverage after Tornado rips through.

A trail of destruction and, for many, hearbreak.

This is a view of columbus from the wcbi drone.

It shows the devastation left by the twister that tore through town late saturday evening, destorying home and businesses and killing a mother of two.

Thank you for joining us for this special edition of wcbi news.

24 hours later there is still utter shock and raw emotions after a tornado tore through columbus.

And a family is mourning.

41- year-old ashley pounds of tupelo died from injuries sustained in the tornado.

More than a dozen people were also injured.

As we are seeing things for the first time in the light, this was the heartbreaking scene last night.

The hunt intermediate school and sim scott community were damaged or destroyed when the twister barreled through.

United deli, a popular gas station and sandwich joint taking a hard hit.

"the building is damaged, one of my car windshield is damage.

The roof, i see a leak coming which i'll check in the morning.

Inside we're fine.

We got hit a couple of spots but we'll check it out in the morning we'll be fine.

We're safe."

Emergency crews stated they haven't seen a disaster like this in columbus in years.

Video in monitor now that the storm is over-- there is a long road ahead to get the friendly city back to normal.

Many residents are coming to grips with what is left of their homes and businesses.

Renae skinner has their reaction.

Vo over sot: happy irby/homeowner--"we aren't resting today but we are thanking god today" track: on this sunday--instead of church--happy irby is tending to his home, after a tornado roared through the city of columbus.

Nat pop: "the wind and water came through this part here which is our bedroom."

Track: his family was at a birthday party, when the sirens rang out.

Sot: happy irby/homeowner--"my step son spotted the tornado..he came running back inside and by the time he got inside the lights went out in the bowling alley and everyone got in a corner against the wall and once it was over we came home and found this."

Track: irby's home isn't the only structure that took a hit track: on waterworks road--the street lights are dangling so low...cars can barely pass through.

Track: uprooted trees and debris are sprawled across streets and roadways.

Making it hard for drivers like kee malone to check on family.

Sot: kee malone/columbu s resident--"i just prayed and god kept me."

Track: malone was grabbing a bite to eat when the sirens blared.

She found herself right in the middle of the storm--not long after.

Sot: kee malone/homeown er--"i didn't even know it was a tornado...i was just riding through it..trees and limbs were just falling and every street a turned in i couldn't get through because trees were down..the power lines were down" track: mangled power lines remain draped across the roadway near martha waltman's home.

Sot: "martha waltman/residen t "i looked out my back sliding door and i saw a lot of wind coming...a lot of rain coming...it was raining so hard you couldn't see hardly" track: waltman was hiding in her hallway--hoping the storm would pass--when she discovered part of her living room was in her yard.

Sot: martha waltman/homeow ner--"my curtains were outside..it had sucked my windows partially out in the front.

Renae stand-up: "this was supposed to be a new business...a new company in columbus but as you can see not much remains after yesterday's storm.

I just got done speaking with a man who says 12 or 13 people were trapped in this building...they all made it out okay."

Track: right next door--ralph pifer is picking up the pieces sot: ralph pifer/business owner: "we are extremely fortunate that only half of our building received heavy heavy damage" track: pifer is the owner of columbus fire service.

He was in tupelo when he got word of what happened.

Sot: ralph pipher/business owner: "we'll the mississippi emergency management agency says early damage reports indicate that at least 300 homes, 190 roads and bridges and 30 businesses in 20 counties were damaged by weekend storms. centered as of today, over 20 counties have made local proclamations declaring a state of emergency.

In lowndes county, state and local emergency response officials met at the e-m-a office in columbus this morning to discuss a plan of action.

Mema director greg michel says road crews are currently in the process of assessing the damage.

He also says governor phil bryant has been in contact with city officials.

"i spoke with the governor earlier today and he expresses his concerns about the damage here.

He will sign a state of emergency tomorrow.

From there we'll move out and do our damage assessments and if we meet the required thresholds for that then we'll be seeking federal assistance at that time."

"we want the citizens to know that we're doing everything within our power to get them all the assistance that we can get.

That's from food, shelter, hotel rooms, and thier power back on."

Michel says the biggest issue emergency officials are facing is people coming to look at the damage.

He is asking anyone who doesn't live in the affected areas to please stay out.

Centered when the storm first hit last night, over 47- hundred people were left without power.

Crews have been working all day to get the light back on.

Wcbi's cash matlock joins us live with an update on the power.

Behind me is the hunter intermediate school---the school has been declared a total loss.

You can see that it looks like the entire second floor has taken on a lot of damage.

The school plans to bus the students over to columbus high school tomorrow.

Todd gale with columbus water and power says today, only about 15 hundred people are without power.gale says crews are working through the night to get the city back up and running hopefully within the next few days.

He says power lines were damaged throughout the entire city from even as far as friday.

It just depends on what areas are effected and how bad the damage is and the extent of the trees and the vegetation to remove would be...the quickest way we can get it up is if we just have a clear work zone.

We're having problems with people moving baracades and walking through first look stinger we've had at least 5 tornadoes confirmed in our area.

The good news is that the weather is going to remain quiet in the near term.

Sunday night: clear and chilly with lows in the mid to low 30s.

Monday: look for mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies to continue along with seasonable temperatures around 60.

Winds become southerly between 5 and 10 mph.

Is going to remain quiet in the near term.

Sunday night: clear and chilly with lows in the mid to low 30s.

Monday: look for mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies to continue along with seasonable temperatures around 60.

Winds become southerly between 5 and 10 mph.

People across the area are lending helping hands in the impacted areas in columbus, truly showing what it means to live in the friendly city.

Our jory tally joins us live with more.

Neighbors helping neighbors.

It's what you'll see among all of the damage left behind 24 hours ago after the tornado came down.

"columbus is just a big neighborhood and we saw hundreds of people showing up carrying logs out of the backyard helping people move their stuff trying to store their things that haven't been destroyed and really when you get down to it the government will do its part but the faith based community and their neighbors are what really makes a difference."

People across the friendly city are working to help clean up and offer support all across tornado scarred areas.

"we're offering sandwiches, chips, apples, bottled water.

Anything to help relieve the people that can't cook right now."

"we just wanted to come you know be the bands and feet of christ."

Passing out food, cooking, or serving it, volunteers are doing all they can to help those impacted.

"totally devastated over everything, that's why i felt like i needed to do something and this was the best way to do it."

We even caught up with ward 5 councilman stephen jones, helping people affected by the storm.

"this morning, went out door to door trying to pass our breakfast to people that may not have had power and weren't unable to eat and then now, we're just out here trying to cut up some trees in some different areas because of course, the city will not go on private property, so we're just trying to make sure we get some of these trees to the streets, so the city can pick them up ."

Jones along with childhood friends are back where they grew up picking up fallen trees and the pieces.

"i've got a lot of friends of mine that i grew up with, they're all out here volunteering with all this stuff that they have.

These are actually friends of mine that grew up in this neighborhood, or that are associated with this neighborhood somehow, and they've all come out to help."

If you want to volunteer to help with the tornado cleanup, you can sign up at the court house or at united way.

Live in columbus, jory tally wcbi news.

Wcbi stinger video in monitor much of northeast mississippi is also reeling from days of torrential rains which brought flood damage.

And it isn't even over, as wcbi's chad groening reports.

It looked like a lake on highway 45 between shannon and nettleton.

And an oil rig sustained damage.

Endville road west of belden was closed because of high water.

But one of the hardest hit areas was satillo where a number of businesses on highway 145 had flooding, and saturday sand bags were assembled to prepare for another expected torrential rain.

Alderman copey grantham has been spearheading the recovery effort.

"you know we have a lot of businesses out here that need help so we're out here to do just anything we can for them."

Now you're concerned about not so much what happened so far here but what could happen.

"absolutely, you know we've had a lot of rainfall the last couple of days and we're looking at more rainfall tonight so we're trying to get as many bags of sand inside these businesses as we can."

April hopkins is the owner of aj's salon.

They were busy preparing for the next round of rain.

"well just with all the water coming in trying to get everything put up so hopefully we won't get everything ruined too bad."

Have you ever seen anything like this before?

"no it has never come in here before."

And hopkins is impressed with the way the community has come together.

"everybody's been helping.

All the other businesses kind of pack everything up and get the one sandbag that needed to and it's been really good."

The water had receeded a great deal in the willow creek community on saturday but residents there suffered a great deal of flood damage.

Grantham says the city of satillo is seeking relief.

"and we signed a declaration a state of emergency for the city.

So we've declared that so we can help to get city funds and we've opened up housing for people who need somewhere to stay."

And what about state and federal funding?

"yes sir, we have reached out to the governor and all the elected officials to help and everbody's here to help."

"the flood damage here in tupelo is quite extensive as you can see this church behind me has been flooded and the road in front of it is completely under water right off of highway 45."

And the church parishoniers will have to find some place else to worship on sunday morning.

Chad groening, wcbi news, tupelo.

Yesterday's storm dumped so much water on parts of the city--parks and roadways are completely blocked off.

Parts of propst park in east columbus, look more like a river.

The water is almost as high is the utility poles off the highway.

The playground and park signs are nearly barried in water.

Caution tape was put to warn drivers not to use the park as a short cut.

The water should start to recede in 24 hours.

Amory is also experiencing some flood damage.

Take a look at the bigbee baptist church on highway 6.

It's almost totally submerged--with water going all the way up to the front door.

The entire church parking lot is under several feet of water leaving no way in or out.

The pastor did not want to appear on camera but her said that he, along with other church members, had been carrying pews and other heavy objects out of the sanctuary all day.

Stinger as we go to break, a look at more flooding in the area.

Here's a view from our drone of the columbus soccer complex - covered in water this eveing.

Stay with us.

We'll be right back.

It is one of the best tools to have in case of severe weather.

Wcbi's cash matlock says a family owned store in vernon wants to make sure your home is safe.

And, they say a severe weather radio is a must for your safety kit.

This past week as been full of heavy rainfall and flooding all across north mississippi.

And it seems like it's all been building up to this weekend with issuing warnings of possible tornados, flash floods, and large hail.

So the question is... are you prepared?

Susan durham of durham's pharmacy in vernon, alabama says it's not smart to procrastinate.

"it's great to be prepared for a storm because when the storm happens, our transportation stops, it's hard to get packages shipped in, everything becomes short supply."

"many times people just say 'oh it's not going to happen' and that's when people really get hurt."

In fact, she says everyone needs one of these in their home-- a severe weather radio.

"many times we're asleep when a tornado comes.

It wakes you up.

Also, a lot of people think 'hey i don't need a weather radio because i've got my phone'--well the app may not work correctly or the satellite may be down and you may not have service.

The weather radio is battery backed up and it's great."

The owners here say the particular brand of radio they carry has improved over the years.

"the weather radio is really much improved.

Now the weather radio is specific to your county and to your community.

Before, they use to go off if it was something in maybe an ajacent county, but now it's much more specific and much more reliable.

You can kind of tune in so that you're warned if you need to be warned."

The durhams also say it's important to be stocked up on other emergency items like blankets, batteries, bandages and flash lights.

"this is a great opportunity to take a moment and make sure that you're protected and your family is protected."

And even though many young people today probably don't even own a áregulará radio-- the durhams say it's vital that everyone has access to a severe weather radio.

"it may be a little old fashioned, but it's really dependable and it could save your life."

This weekend in alabama, you can purchase severe weather preparation items free of sales tax.

This past week as been full of heavy rainfall and flooding all across north mississippi.

Weather open sunday night: clear and chilly with lows in the mid to low 30s.

Monday: look for mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies to continue along with seasonable temperatures around 60.

Winds become southerly between 5 and 10 mph.

Tuesday: highs are expected to stay in the 60s but there will be more cloud cover and the chance for a few afternoon showers.

Wednesday-friday: a few more disturbances will move through the region keeping the threat of rain going.

The highest odds of rain may be thursday into friday.

At this point the moisture doesn't look nearly as heavy as what we had last week but any additional rain isn't welcome at this point.

Look for mild 60s during the day and 40s/50s at night.

Weekend: a cold front is expected to cross the area sometime saturday.

It may produce some rain and storms as it does so.

Cooler 50s return saturday but some spots may struggle to 40 on monday: look for mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies to continue along with seasonable temperatures around 60.

Winds become southerly between 5 and 10 mph.

Tuesday: highs are expected to stay in the 60s but there will be more cloud cover and the chance for a few afternoon showers.

Wednesday-friday: a few more disturbances will move through the region keeping the threat of rain going.

The highest odds of rain may be thursday into friday.

At this point the moisture doesn't look nearly as heavy as what we had last week but any additional rain isn't welcome at this point.

Look for mild 60s during the day and 40s/50s at night.

Weekend: a cold front is expected to cross the area sometime saturday.

It may produce some rain and storms as it does so.

Cooler 50s return saturday but some spots may struggle to 40 on stinger the damage in columbus is hard to fathom.

The view from the wcbi drone tells the story.

As we go to break, a look from on high of gardner blvd.

Centered welcome back, everyone.

Here's a look at some other stories we covered yesterday.

At least one was arrested saturday after the third protest in three days in oxford on ole miss's campus.

Saturday 2 out of state neo confederate groups marched from the oxford square to the heart of campus.

They want to keep the confederate statue on campus.

Counter protesters also coming in full force chanting back and forth wanting the statue removed.

As security was tight university police chief ray hawkins says well planned police efforts kept everything from turning chaotic.

"we had one situation where we had to make an arrest, for someone who failed to comply with directions that were give them, but that was the only reported incident that we had today.

We've had 3 protest on 3 days and i think our team has done an outstanding job of making sure our campus was safe."

Metal detectors were in place that everyone had to go through to get on campus.

The chief says pepper spray and brass knuckles were the only things recovered.

Thanks to a tupelo restaurant an 18-year-old cancer survivor is going to get her wish to visit japan.0 mugshots of tupelo recently raised more than 20-thousand dollars for the make-a-wish foundation, and today zoey henley was told she was told the terrific news.

The restaurant had a special receptiion complete with japanese items. katherine jackson is general manager of mugshots.

"we like to give back to the community and because the wishes were granted locally this is a great event us to do and give back to the community."

"i know it's amazing.

I never thought i'd be able to go to japan in my life.

I take japanese.

I've taken it since i was nine years old and i'm really excited to have this chance to go to japan."

Henley says she hopes to eventually use her japanese language skills to work for a japanese company like toyota.

A last look at the forecast when we come back.

Last look

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