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Mar 28, 2023

Mississippi tornadoes

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On 24 March 2023, powerful tornadoes hit the state of Mississippi, with the US’s National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center reporting advices of up to 37 tornadoes, the majority of which were reported across Missisippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.

The tornadoes caused significant property damage including torn-off roofs, destroyed cars and lorries and the complete destruction of some buildings.

The largest and most intense of these tornadoes, estimated at EF-4 on the enhanced Fujita scale, (an EF-4 tornado is categorized as having three-second wind gusts of 166 to 200 mph) impacted several small towns in northern Mississippi: Rolling Fork, Silver City, Tchula, and Winona. It developed from a supercell storm - a rotating storm where the updraft and the downdraft are separated, originally caused by warm, unstable air near the ground and changing speed and direction of the wind at increasing heights.

The University of Oklahoma said the tornado flung debris 30,000 feet up in the air. Apparently, after travelling through Rolling Fork it then descended again into the town of Black Hawk, Mississippi, as an EF-3 .

Night-time tornadoes receive less advance warning and so the loss of life can be higher. There were some miraculous stories of lives saved but unfortunately the provisional death toll is as high as 25.

These supercell derived tornadoes are some of the least common but among the most destructive according to the NWS. Insured damage claims will lie with the local carriers and according to the worldwide broker Aon, "total economic and insured losses from the event were initially anticipated to reach into the hundreds of millions USD.”