Mississippi counts 75 tornadoes for year, 43 for April 18


With three more tornadoes confirmed Friday from an April 18 outbreak, the National Weather Service now says 43 tornadoes hit Mississippi that day, and 75 for the year.

The one-day amount alone equals Mississippi’s annual average of 43 tornadoes during the years 1991 through 2010. The most tornadoes ever recorded in a single year in the state were 109 in 2008.

Forecasters also confirmed on Friday that a tornado with top winds of 90 mph (145 kph) hit the Kiln area on the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Thursday.

President Donald Trump has declared a federal disaster for storms in February that included a tornado that hit Columbus, limited to government aid for seven counties. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said Friday it’s still assessing damage from the April 13-14 and April 18 tornado outbreaks, and intends to seek separate federal disaster declarations for each of those days.

The agency also said it’s seeking to add 13 additional counties to the February declaration and will seek to add four counties hit by flooding in the area walled off by the Yazoo Backwater Levee. However, with water slow to recede in those counties, damage assessments aren’t yet complete. MEMA also said Friday that it will appeal the denial of individual assistance from the February declaration.

MEMA said damages from the three sets of storms stretch across 60 of Mississippi’s 82 counties, including Attala, Leake, and Neshoba.

Iowa State University figures show the National Weather Service’s Jackson office has issued 62 tornado warnings this year. That’s the most of any Weather Service forecast office. Birmingham, Alabama, and Tallahassee, Florida, come next with 58 apiece. The Jackson office has issued tornado warnings on 10 separate days.

The office covers much of Mississippi, northeast Louisiana, and the southeast corner of Arkansas.

Central Mississippi’s status as the nation’s tornado capital is not new. Over 10 years beginning in 2009 and ending in 2018, the Jackson office issued 1,033 tornado warnings. That’s more than 200 more than the second-highest office in Slidell, Louisiana. That office covers southeast Louisiana, but also the southern fringes of Mississippi.

“It’s busy here, there’s no doubt about it,” said Eric Carpenter, a senior meteorologist in the Jackson office. He said the posting attracts meteorologists interested in storms. “The folks that put in for this office, they definitely have an enthusiasm for severe weather.” (AP)

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