At Least 4 Dead as Tornadoes Batter the Southeast

Saturday, January 21, 2017
At Least 4 Dead as Tornadoes Batter the Southeast
Ryan Moore, a reporter with ABC affiliate WDAM-TV in Hattiesburg, Miss., tweeted this photo illustrating the damage a tornado did in Hattiesburg.

Four people are confirmed dead in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, after at least 5 tornadoes touched down there and in three other southeastern states on Saturday morning.

Authorities in Hattiesburg confirmed that four people died are confirmed to have died after a large tornado hit the area, leaving a trail of destroyed homes, collapsed buildings, downed power lines, and residents trapped in their homes, authorities said.

Further north in Choctaw County, four people were injured and at least 20 homes damaged from a possible tornado, the National Weather Service reported. Two tornadoes were also reported in Georgia and two in Alabama.

"At 3:45 a.m. CST, a confirmed tornado was located over West Hattiesburg, moving northeast at 50 mph," read a National Weather Service warning of severe weather issued at 3:46 a.m.

"To repeat, a tornado is on the ground. TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris," the statement urged. "Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely."

Glen Moore, director of Forrest County Emergency Management, told ABC News his agency received reports of multiple people trapped in houses, destroyed homes and collapsed buildings.

William Carey University in downtown Hattiesburg also reported damage to its campus. A Facebook Live post gave a tour of damage to the university.

Ryan Moore, a reporter with ABC affiliate WDAM-TV in Hattiesburg, tweeted several photos of the devastation, writing that multiple structures were damaged.

ABC News' Brendan Rand, Daniel Manzo and Matt Foster contributed to this report.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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