Governor Jindal announced Friday he would be monitoring the weather even as officials kept one eye on the Gulf with the potential of serious oil spillage and concerns the oil might reach the shoreline. Agencies involved in disaster clean-up said some of the investigations of the oil spill were impeded by severe weather problems in the region.
Early morning Saturday residents of Louisiana and Mississippi were asked to be on alert for dangerous storms and to take measures to protect lives, given the extreme weather expected in areas of the South. Alerts had been targeted principally for northern sections from beyond Alexandria to Shreveport areas as potentially having the most serious risks from tornadoes.
Before 9 a.m. sirens and emergency warnings could be heard in north and central Louisiana, even as the storm created little damage in the central section near Natchitoches and Winn Parishes where it had earlier been announced might be included in the storm's path. That path changed course, but brought heavy rains, dark skies and worries for the residents, many of whom experience these alarms regularly during the spring and fall seasons.
A large tree branch fell early on Saturday, even as a journalist photographed it shortly afterward. This had likely occurred in the very early morning hours, with an extensive branch falling across the sidewalk where children and adults ordinarily walk on their way to events in the downtown area of Natchitoches, Louisiana.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
reports 10 fatalities related to the storm in Mississippi with continuing reports of damages and injuries coming in from counties across the state.
Five deaths were reported in Choctaw County, four deaths in Yazoo County and one death in Holmes County. There are a reported twenty-one residents who were injured in the storm and taken to hospitals.
The State of Mississippi's Emergency Management System reports damages in the following counties: Attala: Major damage to nine homes with numerous trees and power lines down. Choctaw: Homes, trees and power lines down. Desoto: Damage to some buildings, trees and power lines down. Holmes: Trees down. Issaquena: Damage to buildings, trees and power lines. Jasper: Homes damaged and trees down. Lamar: Some damage to structures. Lauderdale: Church damaged trees and power lines down. Monroe: Damages reported. Simpson: Trees and power lines down. Union: Homes damaged trees and power lines down. Warren: 30 homes damaged and two roads closed due to downed trees and power lines. One shelter open. Yazoo: Homes and businesses damaged widespread damage to trees and downed power lines.
A number of highways in Yazoo and Holmes counties have been damaged. Trees have fallen across several highways resulting in the closure of Mississippi Highway 433.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation officials reported last night that several highways in Yazoo and Holmes counties received major damage and trees down across several highways due to severe weather that swept across the state reports the following road closures: Mississippi Highway 433
issued the following statement referencing the impact of the storms in Mississippi: “Our prayers are with those families who have been impacted by this dangerous line of storms that traveled through the state. The effects of these storms have left many Mississippians with destroyed businesses and without homes.”
The State of Emergency order allows emergency responders to coordinate activities related to the emergency situation. Governor Barbour has assured Mississippi's citizens that he recognizes the sense of community that exists in times of crisis by saying that he has been pleased with how emergency officials have responded to the crisis and that "in times of emergency, Mississippians know they can count on their neighbors, and this is another example where the character and perseverance of our fellow citizens will be evident.”
Search and rescue operations teams have been set up in Hattiesburg.