This video was shot by Tony Sudduth during an apparent tornado in Shuqualak, Mississippi.


JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- An apparent tornado hit eastern Mississippi on Thursday afternoon, killing at least one person and causing widespread damage and power outages, officials said.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said one person died in Kemper County. The tornado hit there and in Noxubee County before moving into Alabama, damaging buildings and knocking out power, Flynn said.

It was not immediately clear how many people may have been hurt or how severely they were injured. However, Tabatha Lott, a dispatcher in Noxubee County, said there were 'numerous reports of injuries' in the town of Shuqualak. She said ambulances were on their way.

Jared Allen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said a tornado appeared to have formed briefly in a storm approaching Hattiesburg. He said there's still a danger of strong, straight-line winds hitting the area.

Allen said there are also reports that high-voltage power lines were knocked down 5 miles south of Macon on U.S. Highway 45. Such power lines are typically built on steel trusses, he said.

'If those are taken down, then that's usually an indication of pretty strong storm,' Allen said.

Mississippi Power Co. spokesman Jeff Shepard said most construction workers were not on site of its new power plant in Kemper County at the time of the tornado because of severe weather warnings. He said the twister did not touch the 3,000-acre property.

'It missed the entire site,' Shepard said.

East Mississippi Electric Power Association said more than 5,000 customers are without power in Kemper County. Spokeswoman Julie Boles said that some poles are broken, and there are reports that Tennessee Valley Authority transmission lines are also down. She said crews are out assessing the damage, but it could be a long time before power is restored.

'We don't have an estimate of the length of the power outages,' Boles said. 'It could be significant.'

Boles said damage was worst in an area west of DeKalb around Mississippi Highways 493 and 16.

Mississippi Power Co. said it had fewer than 270 customers without power at 2 p.m., mostly around Hattiesburg.

Entergy Mississippi was reporting fewer than 600 outages in its territory, which is mostly west of where the storms have been worst.

Four-County Electric said that at least 50 to 60 power poles were broken around Shuqualak and that TVA lines south of there are damaged.

'There is a chance that people living in the area around Shuqualak will not get power back tonight,' the cooperative wrote on its Facebook page. 'We are concentrating our efforts there but just want to warn you.'

Four-County reported more than 5,700 customers without power, with about 3,800 outages around Macon in Noxubee County and around 1,800 on the western side of West Point in Clay County.

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