PHOTO GALLERY: Search and recovery, clean up efforts continue in Rolling Fork

Published 12:49 pm Saturday, March 25, 2023

Damage was present throughout Rolling Fork after a tornado devastated the town late Friday night, leveling homes and businesses, downing power lines and causing gas leaks.

Rolling Fork residents are still taking in the damage as search and recovery efforts continue to find those who are missing.

Vanessa Patton, a resident of Rolling Fork, spoke to The Vicksburg Post in front of the destroyed home of one of her family members. Many of Patton’s family members live on or around the street where she stood, which is now lined with debris and destroyed houses.

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“When I was little, this is where we played at,” she said. “This is my family, in this whole area. This one town is my family. We don’t know who we lost yet.”

At least 23 people in Mississippi were killed by Friday’s storms, including more than a dozen in Rolling Fork. Four people were missing and dozens were injured.

In Rolling Fork, cars and trucks were mixed with the rubble of buildings, flung together by the high winds. Strips of sheet metal were wrapped around trees that were snapped in half and stripped of their branches.

On top of one destroyed building, two large 18-wheelers that normally carry grain sat destroyed side-by-side. One was on its side, while the other had its trailer sticking into the air like a tail.

The National Weather Service sent survey crews to the area to assess the damage and gauge the tornado’s severity. Preliminary estimates, however, indicated that it was on the ground for more than an hour and its track covered nearly 100 miles. The tornado touched down just southwest of Rolling Fork, carved through that town and then Anguilla and Silver City, and continued northeast to Winona.

On Saturday, Gov. Tate Reeves issued a State of Emergency in all counties affected by the storms.