Lee downgraded to depression; flooding, winds, tornadoes still a threat (10:30 p.m. update)

Much of Mississippi remains under severe weather watches and warnings at least through early Monday even after Lee was downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression Sunday night.

Possible tornadoes were spotted tonight from the Coast to far into central Mississippi Sunday night. One was spotted by National Weather Service radar in the Diamondhead area moving toward Long Beach, but no reports of damage. One in Stone County near Wiggins on Sunday night damaged a mobile home on Project Road, but no injuries were reported. Other possible tornadoes were reported in Smith, Jasper, Jones, Wayne, Forrest and Covington counties Sunday night. At least 33 counties were under a tornado watch and 47 under a flash-flood watch.

Coast emergency officials warn river flooding has begun and could continue over the next few days. The Biloxi River is expected to crest at 7 p.m. Monday at 17 feet. Flood stage is 12 feet. The Tchoutacabouffa River is forecast to crest at 7 p.m. today at 14.5 feet. Flood stage is 8 feet. The Wolf River is expected to crest at 1 a.m. Monday at 10.5 feet. Flood stage is 8 feet.

The biggest threat remains heavy rainfall and residents are urged to stay off the roads if possible at least through the early Monday, with widespread ponding and road flooding possible, including on U.S. 90.

Rainfall totals from Thursday through today range from 6 to 14 inches in the three Coast counties and their cities. A flash flood watch is in effect in the area at least through Monday.

Authorities said a man in Harrison County was taken to a hospital for what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries from lightning traveling through a telephone line.

A mobile home flipped just before midnight in Hancock County, though Brian Adam, emergency manager, reports no one was injured. The mobile home is at 20613 Mississippi 603 in Kiln.

Adam said roads that were flooded yesterday should still be avoided, with tides rising again after early afternoon low tides.

The flooded areas include the Shoreline Park, east and west sides off Mississippi 603. Also, Heron Bay, Garden Isle subdivision, Jourdan River Shores subdivsion, Pearlington and a few streets in Bayside Park.

Dena Hickman, 35, lives on Bond Road and said the tornado came in and left quickly. Her house sustained roof damage, a camper in the backyard flipped over and power poles in the area snapped in two. She compared it to a hurricane that came through in seconds.

In Harrison County, the Emergency Operations Center reported damage in Saucier from a possible tornado, including downed trees and a limited power outage.

Authorities say a tree has fallen on a mobile home and a vehicle at Morton Road and at Torries Road.

Pam Jarrett, 47, said what sounded like a tornado arrived at her home in Saucier a little after midnight. She stepped into a hall closet at her home on Yankee Town Road and thought about her daughter, who was not there with her, for the four or so minutes she stayed there.

“It was scary,” she said, noted she did some praying while in the closet.

This morning, she found at least two downed pecan trees and two pine trees on her property, along with broken limbs from other trees. Also, a trampoline was propelled on a nearby fence, a birdhouse was knocked off its resting place and siding was ripped off her home.

She estimates it will take several days to clean up her property.

No damages have been reported in Jackson County, though several rescues took place Saturday night on flooded streets. First-responders took an unspecified number of people from some flooded areas in Moss Point and the Pascagoula Fire Department rescued 14 people from floodwaters, said Emergency Manager Donald Langham. He said a handful of streets still have water on them.

Jackson County had issued a voluntary evacuation order by 8 a.m. today for residents living in mobile homes and low-lying areas.

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