Suspected tornadoes hit Florida’s Panhandle, Mississippi

CENTURY, Fla. — On Monday, suspected tornadoes tied to the vast storm system turned several homes to rubble in the northwest corner of Florida’s Panhandle and in Mississippi. Authorities say more than a dozen homes were destroyed in both states.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths or serious injuries from those reported tornadoes though witnesses said one 94-year-old woman had to be pulled out of the Florida storm debris.

Officials in Florida and Mississippi were investigating reports of at least three possible tornadoes. One of the apparent twisters swept through Century, a rural town in the northwest Florida Panhandle, destroying or significantly damaging about 10 homes, Escambia County spokeswoman Joy Tsubooka said.

Donald Pugh was at home in Century when the funnel tore through his neighborhood of small wood-frame houses and mobile homes, downing trees and power lines. Pugh told The Associated Press that he and other neighbors used a chain saw to free a 94-year-old woman from the debris of her home.

“It took us quite a while,” he said, adding she was trapped under a twisted metal door. The woman talked to the men as they worked to free her. “She was telling us where she was and that she was OK,” Pugh added.

She appeared to have minor injuries and was taken to a hospital as a precaution, authorities said.

Escambia County Administrator Jack Brown said search crews also combed through the debris for hours afterward but there were no later reports of any others found in the rubble.

In Mississippi, windows were blown out of cars and two gymnasiums and a library were damaged Monday at a K-12 school in Wesson where children were in attendance when heavy thunderstorms and a possible tornado crossed at least 19 counties. There were no reports of any students injured, said Mississippi Department of Education spokeswoman Patrice Guilfoyle. Emergency management officials reported at least 15 buildings and homes damaged or destroyed.

Elsewhere, Virginia remained under a winter storm warning Tuesday morning with authorities warning people to stay off slick roads amid reports of at least three fatal crashes by Virginia State Police.

And many awaited warmer temperatures in the forecast in many areas.

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