Tornadoes, waterspout spotted in South Mississippi

A Mississippi Power crew assesses damage on Oak Place in Gulfport, where a tree limb took out a power line causing a power outage in the area.
A Mississippi Power crew assesses damage on Oak Place in Gulfport, where a tree limb took out a power line causing a power outage in the area.

Update 12:30 p.m.

What we know about the severe weather:

▪ A tornado was spotted near Latimer at 11:41 a.m. It touched down near the Latimer community center on Camellia Street near Krohn Road, Jackson County Emergency Management Director Earl Etheridge said. Trees were down or damaged. National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning in the area until 12:15 p.m.

▪ A tornado also was spotted on Lamey Bridge Road in D’Iberville, according to the Harrison County Emergency Management Agency.

▪ A waterspout was reported at the end of Rodenberg Avenue in Biloxi.

▪ Biloxi and D’Iberville schools were on lockdown but will continue through the school day. Harrison County EMA Director Rupert Lacy said one of the rotating storms dropped down at the site of the under-construction Biloxi junior high, next to the high school, but there was no major damage.

▪ A large truss, 21 feet by 30 feet, from a stage blew onto the hood of a volunteer’s vehicle at Centennial Plaza. No one was hurt. The stage is part of this weekend’s Bicentennial Celebration.

▪ Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic’s Pro-Am was canceled for the rest of the day at 10:45 a.m.

▪ Mississippi Power reports an outage in the Broadmoor neighborhood of Gulfport, affecting 488 customers, and an outage near downtown Pascagoula affecting 653 customers.

▪ A funnel cloud was spotted but did not touch down before noon along North Washington Avenue near Broome’s Big B Exxon and Grocery, north of Ocean Springs and south of Interstate 10.

▪ D’Iberville City Manager Clay Jones said two employees saw a funnel cloud in the southeast part of the city tracking toward St. Martin. That sighting, combined with the tornado warning, prompted the city to sound the tornado sirens, he said. The only damage appears to be a tree down on Moye Drive, and crews are working to clean that up.

▪ Flying debris was reported on Richardson Drive in Biloxi.

▪ A roof was damaged at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jefferson Davis campus. Angela Wise, 18, a freshman at MGCCC, said about 10 students had stayed after class for extra credit when they heard a loud noise.

“There was a big gush of air and then a big crash,” Wise said. “The teacher said for us to get in the hallway.”

What it turned out to be was a change in air pressure, which caused the ceiling tiles to lift and resettle.

Wise said the students were in the hallway about 10 minutes, then they were told to gather their things and leave when the rain let up.

About 20 students and four teachers took shelter in the hallway. No one was injured, she said.

Lee Youngblood, spokesman for Mississippi Power Co., said sporadic outages have been reported. At 1 p.m. about 1,100 customers were without power, mostly in the Gulfport and Pascagoula areas. With the chance for more severe weather on the way, he reminded people to stay clear of downed power lines and to report or monitor any power outages at the company’s storm and outage page.

Update 11:30 a.m.

A line of strong and severe thunderstorms is slowly moving across the Mississippi Coast, bringing torrential rainfall, the weather service warns. Threats include flash flooding, wind gusts up to 60 mph, penny-sized hail and waterspouts.

The weather service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Hancock County until 10:45 a.m. and Harrison County until 11:15, but the storms are moving east and more warnings are likely to be issued across the Coast.

The weather service predicts the strongest storms will affect the area from Picayune southwest to Gonzales, Louisiana. But the slow-moving nature of the storm could cause flash flooding anywhere on the Coast.

Rainfall of 1 to 2 inches is predicted in most areas, with up to 3 to 5 inches possible in some areas.

There is a small-craft advisory and high rip-current risk until 1 a.m. Friday. Strong winds are expected again Saturday and Sunday.