- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Latest on severe weather in Mississippi (all times local):

6 p.m.

Severe weather that swept through Scooba, Mississippi, caused structural damage to some student housing at East Mississippi Community College, which had closed early because of the impending weather.

The college says it’s unclear whether Tuesday’s damage was caused by straight-line winds or a tornado that was spawned from the weather system that tore through nearby Collinsville.

College spokeswoman Suzanne Monk says nobody was injured and all students and staff were accounted for. She says the college is working to provide housing alternatives in the interim and county officials were en route to the campus to help assess the damage.

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4:45 p.m.

A sheriff in eastern Mississippi says a tornado has damaged homes, toppled trees and knocked out power.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie says the tornado struck about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday near Collinsville, northwest of Meridian. He says it appears to have been on the ground about five miles. He says it went through a mostly rural area that has a large subdivision.

The storm struck when many people were at work. Sollie says there were no immediate reports of injuries, although emergency crews were on standby.

He says some buildings were damaged near West Lauderdale High School, but the main part of the school was not hit.

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3:55 p.m.

Emergency officials are assessing damage from a tornado that struck Newton and Lauderdale counties in eastern Mississippi.

Greg Flynn, spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, says a confirmed tornado was reported just before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. He did not immediately know if there were injuries.

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3:20 p.m.

Five counties in south and central Mississippi are opening community safe rooms for people to take shelter in case of severe weather.

The shelters are in Adams, Copiah, Forrest, Jones and Rankin counties.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn says storms passed through several counties Tuesday afternoon, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

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5:49 a.m.

Scattered severe storms capable of damaging winds and a few tornadoes are in the forecast for north and central Mississippi.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is asking residents to prepare for the possibility of severe storms Tuesday afternoon into early Wednesday morning.

Forecaster Eric Carpenter with the National Weather Service in Jackson says the primary threats will be damaging winds, tornadoes, hail and heavy rainfall as a strong cold front moves through the state Tuesday.

Carpenter says the greatest threat will be east of Interstate 55.

Severe storms could linger in southeast Mississippi through early Wednesday morning.


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