Bassfield tornado largest ever recorded in State of Mississippi

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The second of the three vicious tornadoes that plowed through Jefferson Davis County Easter Sunday has been confirmed as the state’s widest tornado on record.

The storm width was 2.25 miles and ranks 3rd widest in the official NOAA United States tornado database behind the El Reno, Oklahoma tornado of 2013 (2.6 mi) and the Hallam, Nebraska tornado of 2004 (2.5 mi).

As the widest on record in the state of Mississippi, it well surpassed the Yazoo City, tornado of 2010 (1.75 mi).

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The tornado was on the ground for 1 hour and 17 minutes and traveled 68 miles through parts of five counties. The twister was so destructive, its scar on the land surface was visible from space.

According to the National Weather Service, the tornado is preliminarily rated EF4 with an estimated peak wind of 190 MPH.

The tornado began at 4:12 p.m. south of Bassfield along Bassfield Cemetery Road.

Tornado intensity then began to increase quickly, with EF3 damage as it crossed Hosey Mikell Road. Intense damage continued as the tornado crossed the intersection of Graves Keys Road and Harper Road, where Mama D’s was destroyed, killing four.

It continued along the tornado path across Claude Booth Road and reached its peak intensity as it moved across a field north of Graves Keys Road.

The tornado continued to remain violent and grow in size as it crossed Good Hope Road and continued to track toward the Bouie River. Extreme debarking was noted around Willie Fortenberry Road. In this general area, several farmers reported roughly 60 cattle were killed by the tornado.

The tornao demolished mobile homes and scattered debris 300 yards.

A third tornado that began at 4:36 p.m. traveled over 84 miles through parts of six counties.

This tornado is preliminarily rated EF3 with an estimated peak wind of 150 MPH near Highway 35 northeast of Carson.

The maximum path width was 1.16 miles.

The tornado initially touched down in southeastern Lawrence County before crossing into Jefferson Davis County.

Once in Jefferson Davis County, the tornado snapped and uprooted numerous trees along Johnson Road, Palestine Road and Lily Rose Road.

The tornado crossed Highway 13 and then destroyed mobile homes along Greens Creek Road, and Newman Camp Road before causing widespread damage across Kirkley Lane, Haynes Gray Road, SJ Garner Road and Ross McPhail Road. Along Berry Loop, a mobile home was demolished and several other homes were heavily damaged.

As the tornado neared Highway 35 and the Terrell community, it grew wider and stronger.

In this area, multiple mobile homes were completely destroyed on both sides of the highway and a large church was leveled.

The tornado reached its widest point in this location at 1.16 miles. EF3 tree damage continued as it crossed East Granby Road near the river as well as a small section when it crossed Three Notch Road.

The very first tornado to touch down in the county begain at 3:39 p.m. in Walthall County. It then moved into far southeast Lawrence County before entering northeast Jefferson Davis County, resulting in the snapping of a few small softwood tree limbs at Raynes Road. The tornado lifted at Joe Dyess Road, but not before snapping a few small hardwood tree limbs. This storm, rated EF4, lasted for 21.2 miles with highest winds being 170 MPH.