Tornado rips through parts of south Mississippi, killing 4

Virtually nothing remains of the home of Jessie and Diana Mills of Magee, Miss., following a direct hit by a possible morning tornado, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. Several homes and businesses were affected by the strong winds that affected several central Mississippi counties. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) – Four people were killed early Saturday when a tornado ripped through the Hattiesburg area, officials in Mississippi said.

The city of Hattiesburg said via its Twitter account that four people had died after a tornado blew through the city and surrounding area. Mayor Johnny DuPress has signed an emergency declaration for Hattiesburg. Significant injuries and structural damage are reported.

The city also said via Twitter that Hattiesburg firefighters and police are going door-to-door to try to rescue victims.

Greg Flynn of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said “massive damage” was reported in a three-county area that was struck by a tornado at around 4 a.m.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol is reporting Interstate 59 north of Hattiesburg is closed due to debris. Downed power lines and debris have been reported over a wide area. The public is asked to avoid traveling.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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