- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

Call it the tale of two storms: Just as about 2 inches of snow was about to fall in northern Mississippi, two tornadoes tore through parts of south Mississippi.

The National Weather Service in Jackson confirmed Friday that at least two tornadoes tore through Lamar and Simpson counties as a result of Thursday night’s storm. No injuries were reported.

Meteorologist Brad Bryant said an EF-2 tornado touched down in Lamar County while experts ranked the one that hit Simpson County as an EF-1. Bryant said the Lamar County tornado left a 6.6 mile-path of destruction, while the Simpson County one was shorter at 3.9 miles.

Both tornadoes damaged homes in the area, uprooted trees and downed power lines.

Bryant said survey crews were in the areas Friday to get a better handle on what happened.

Meanwhile, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said storm damage was reported in six counties. In addition to Lamar and Simpson, the other counties are: Clarke, Lauderdale, Smith and Yazoo.

National Weather Service Meteorologist John Sirmon in Memphis said most of the heavy snowfall remained in Tennessee.

Sirmon said Oxford received about 2 inches, downtown and on the University of Mississippi campus. The university and many rural school districts closed Friday, citing travel problems.

A webcam focused on the university’s Quad area showed a blanket of snow Friday morning, but only a couple of people walked across the campus.

In downtown Oxford, the William Faulkner statue in the city’s square was covered in light snow. Children at the city’s Avent Park screamed with delight as they played in the snow.

As of midmorning, only a light band of snow was moving south of Tupelo, Sirmon said.

Sgt. Joey Miller of the Mississippi Highway Patrol’s Troop E said seven weather-related accidents were reported. He said there was one minor injury.

Troopers in Miller’s area have been placed on 12-hour shifts to put more officers on the highways.

National Weather Service forecaster Allen Campbell said 10 to 12 homes were damaged near the rural Improve community in Marion County when Thursday’s storm system moved over the state. No injuries were reported.

He said 11 other counties reported tree and power line damage.


Associated Press photographer Rogelio Solis in Oxford contributed to this story.

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