djr-2021-05-04-news-tupelo-tornado-arp5

A Tupelo Public Works employee works to clear out more debris and tree limbs from Elvis Presley Drive on Monday morning, May 3, 2021, after a possible tornado hit the area late Sunday night.

TUPELO • Leaders in Mayor Jason Shelton’s administration on Monday morning reported that a Sunday night tornado caused severe damage in portions of east Tupelo, but caused no major injuries.

“We were very fortunate this time,” Tupelo Fire Chief Thomas Walker said.

Walker, who serves as the city’s emergency response officer, said at a damage assessment briefing that the city’s emergency responders around 10:07 p.m. last night began conducting damage assessments to most of the areas around town and responding to emergency calls.

Walker said that when emergency responders were making damage assessments, they checked on residents and helped in almost every way they legally could. 

Most of the major damage from the storm occurred around the Elvis Presley Drive area, Oakview Drive and portions of Green Street. 

Tornado leaves path of destruction

Shelton at the meeting said officials from North Mississippi Medical Center reported that the facility did not treat anyone in its emergency room with injuries related to the tornado.

Johnny Timmons, the director of Tupelo Water & Light, said around 1,000 homes were without power on Sunday night, and that three power substations were temporarily knocked out.

“About two to three hours hours later, though, we had 75% of those homes back on,” Timmons said.

Timmons said approximately 50 homes without power remained by Monday morning, but those represent more severe problems where an electric meter was broken or a similar issue. 

Chuck Williams, director of the city’s public works department, said all the city’s roads had been cleared of debris by late Monday morning, except Oakview Drive.

Public works employees will try to remove storm debris that fell in residents yards, but residents must push the debris to the curb in order for the employees to pick it up.

Eight Days of Hope, a faith-based nonprofit organization, announced on social media they were organizing a volunteer response effort to aid people whose homes sustained damage to the tornado.

The organization said any Tupelo residents need assistance in clearing storm damage should email rapidresponse@eightdaysofhope.com for assistance.

Both Shelton and the Lee County Board of Supervisors issued emergency proclamations in response to the storm damage, although most of the damage appears to be confined to the Tupelo area.

Most of the county supervisors reported minimal damage in the county, but said they would use equipment to aid surrounding counties, such as Calhoun County, if needed.

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