Seventeen homes in southwest Mississippi were damaged in Sunday’s storm that spawned a tornado and killed one person in Mississippi, the state’s Emergency Management Agency confirmed Tuesday.

The National Weather Service in Jackson said the storm produced an EF-4 tornado that originated in southern Walthall County and reached winds of 170 mph, with a path 54.2 miles long and a maximum width of 1¼ miles.

The twister killed a Marion County resident and tracked east-northeast through Walthall, Marion, Lamar, Forrest and Perry counties.

Preliminary damage reports show the storm system damaged 10 homes in Walthall County and another seven in Amite County.

McCain’s Meat Packing plant, the St. Francis Animal Shelter and Hurricane Creek Baptist Church in Walthall County sustained damage in the storm, which also destroyed a fire station in southern Marion County.

On Tuesday, workers were making repairs to Pleasant Grove Baptist Church near Fernwood after high winds blew in the front doors, separating the interior wall from the brick facade.  

MEMA is asking residents with damage to report it at www.msema.org/contact /crisistrackcsr/.

Walthall County not eligible for SBA disaster aid

In other storm-related developments, Gov. Tate Reeves announced disaster assistance for Mississippians affected by the deadly Easter Sunday tornado outbreak.

Reeves said the U.S. Small Business Administration has assistance for Covington, Jefferson Davis and Jones counties, which were declared federal disaster areas.

Small businesses and nonprofits may apply for up to $2 million in SBA loans and homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or rebuild their homes and up to $40,000 to replace lost personal property, Reeves’ office said Tuesday.

The relief also applied to adjacent counties, including Forrest, Jasper, Lamar, Lawrence, Marion, Perry, Simpson, Smith and Wayne.

The Easter tornado killed a Lawrence County sheriff’s deputy and his wife. Two people also died in Walthall County, which was not approved for the disaster assistance.

Applicants can apply online by visiting the SBA’s website: disasterloanassistance.sba.gov. the deadline to apply is June 15 for physical property damage applications and jan. 19, 2021, for economic injury applications.

Agriculture relief available

The USDA has various programs for farmers to recover from tornado damage, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., announced Tuesday.

Initial damage assessments include at least 90 poultry houses, approximately 19,215 acres including 12,988 acres of timber land in Covington, Jasper, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lawrence, Marion, Smith, and Walthall.

Cattle farmers have reported losses in the form of death or injury to their herds and damaged fences and other infrastructure,, Hyde-Smith’s office said.

USDA programs applicable to recovery efforts include the USDA Disaster Reference Guide; USDA Livestock Indemnity Program; USDA Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; USDA Emergency Conservation Program; and the USDA Emergency Forest Restoration Program.

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