Weather

Rough weather hits Coast, including tornado in Saucier

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD 
 Dark clouds are seen on at Mississippi 67 and Mississippi 605, just after a tornado was spotted near Saucier around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD Dark clouds are seen on at Mississippi 67 and Mississippi 605, just after a tornado was spotted near Saucier around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

SAUCIER -- A tornado touched down Thursday afternoon about 7 miles northwest of Lyman in northern Harrison County.

The National Weather Service confirmed the twister sighting at 5:03 p.m.

The weather service issued a tornado warning for Harrison County minutes after witnesses reported the twister.

"A tornado is on the ground. Take cover now!" the warning said. "Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows."

Several more tornado warnings followed throughout the evening for parts of Harrison, Pearl River, George and Jackson counties.

Initial reports came in about 4:30 p.m. Harrison County Emergency Manager Rupert Lacy said a funnel cloud with possible touchdown was first spotted near Mississippi 53 and Cemetery Road.

It formed into about a quarter-mile-wide twister shortly after, near U.S. 49 and West Wortham Road, heading northeast about 15 mph. By 5:15 p.m., it was passing through the De Soto National Forest toward northwestern Jackson County, Lacy said.

He said it continued northeast and entered George County, then dissipated.

"We had no confirmed damage to homes," he said. "We had tree limbs and yard-type stuff that was blown around, but nothing habitable was damaged."

At 7:38 p.m., thunderstorms that could produce tornadoes and straight-line wind damage were about 8 miles west of the Wade community. The system was moving east at 45 mph.

Marble-sized hail was reported at Mississippi 53 and Cemetery Road, according to the weather service.

NWS predicts a chance of isolated severe storms Friday, with rain continuing into Saturday.

An average of 1 to 2.5 inches of rainfall is expected over the next few days with locally higher amounts possible. Because much of the ground is saturated from last week's rain, storms could cause flash flooding and worsen flooding in areas where water has not yet receded.

The chance of precipitation is 50 to 70 percent through Saturday afternoon, when a strong cold front is expected to put an end to the rain. Winds associated with the front will likely prompt a small-craft advisory Saturday and Sunday.

Overnight lows should drop into the 40s by Sunday and Monday nights. Northern counties and southwest Mississippi could even see frost with lows reaching into the 30s.

Temperatures are expected to start warming up again Tuesday.

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