12aprAll DayBassfield/Pachuta (Jefferson Davis/Covington/Jones/Jasper/Clarke Counties, MS)


Start Time: 4:11 pm CDT 

End Time:  5:28 pm CDT

Rating:  EF4

Estimated Peak Winds:  190 mph

Path length: 68 miles

Width: 3960 yards

Fatalities: 8

Injuries:  Unknown

County:  Jefferson Davis, Covington, Jones, Jasper, Clarke

State:  Mississippi

Start Lat/Lon:  31.4641 / -89.7579

End Lat/Lon:  32.072 / -88.8649

Note:  Width listed as 2.25 miles, converted that to yards

This violent, deadly tornado traveled 68 miles through parts of five counties including southeastern Jefferson Davis, central Covington, northwestern Jones, southeastern Jasper, and western Clarke counties. Locations impacted by this tornado include Bassfield, the areas between Collins and Seminary, Soso, Moss, Heidelberg, and Pachuta. This tornado is preliminarily rated EF4 with an estimated peak wind of 190 MPH east of Bassfield in southwestern Jefferson Davis County. Additional EF4 damage was  noted near Soso in Jones County and at Moss in Jasper County. The maximum path width was 2.25 miles in the vicinity of Hughes Road west of Seminary in western Covington County. At this width, the tornado ranks 3rd widest in the official NOAA United States tornado database behind the El Reno, OK tornado of 2013 (2.6 mi) and the Hallam, NE tornado of 2004 (2.5 mi). This tornado now ranks as the widest on record in the state of Mississippi, surpassing the Yazoo City, MS tornado of 2010 (1.75 mi). Eight lives were lost in this tornado, and there was an undetermined number of additional injuries. Additional details on the damage path and area of most significant damage follow.

The tornado began south of Bassfield along Bassfield Cemetery Road, uprooting trees and resulting in relatively minor structural damage. As it proceeded northeastward, the diameter of the wind field steadily increased and the percentage of snapped trees in the center of the vortex increased considerably as the tornado approached MS Highway 42. At this location, two homes sustained major roof damage. Tornado intensity then began to increase quickly, with EF3 damage as it crossed Hosey Mikell Road, completely demolishing a mobile home and scattering the debris field over 300 yards downwind. Tree damage also ramped up significantly beyond this location, with low end EF4 damage in a narrow swath of nearly complete tree destruction along the center of the tornado vortex and increasing instances of debarking of trees as the tornado moved across Pitts Lane and Reese Road. Outside of this most intense corridor of tornadic winds, EF1 and EF2 damage to trees and structures was occurring over a wider area, up one mile wide. In addition, both ground surveys and aerial photography indicated the presence of multiple vortices at times. Intense damage continued as the tornado crossed the intersection of Graves Key Road and Harper Road, where a cinder block small business building was destroyed, with much of the slab swept clean. Four fatalities occurred at this location. Nearby, a mobile home was completely destroyed, with the undercarriage wrapped around the small set of trees that remained standing downwind. Debarking of some trees was again noted and continued along the tornado path across Claude Booth Road.

The tornado reached its peak intensity as it moved across a field north of Graves Key Road. At this location, the foundation of a wood frame and metal roof cabin was swept clean. A truck parked at this cabin was tossed approximately 300 yards downwind, and trees that remained standing at this site were partially debarked.  Though the path of the intense tornado vortex through the field surrounding this cabin was clearly visible, significant scouring was not noted. The tornado continued to remain violent and grow in size, nearly 1.5 miles wide, as it crossed Good Hope Road and continued to track toward the Bouie River. Here, a large swath of extreme tree damage was noted as the whole forest was leveled. An intense core of the tornado was evident by debarking of trees along a well defined center line or sub-vortex feature. Extreme debarking was noted around Willie Fortenberry Road. In this general area, several farmers reported roughly 60 cattle were killed by the tornado. The tornado grew larger as it entered Covington County and peaked in width in the vicinity of Hughes Road. Maximum width was measured at 2.25 miles. The incredible expansive tree damage continued along the path with millions (millions or thousands?) of trees damaged. Several dozen structures were damaged or destroyed between McGowen Circle to US 49. Numerous chicken houses (23-30) were destroyed here as well. A section of Cold Springs Road looked to see another sub- vortex and it was here another area of EF4 damage occurred to a home.

As the tornado crossed US 49, the width decreased to 1.7 miles, but it remained quite strong with mid to upper end EF3 damage noted. Extreme tree damage persisted in large swaths along the path. In addition, a few dozen structures were damaged between US 49 and MS Highway 588. This consisted of varying degrees of damage from EF1 to EF3 levels. The tornado entered northwestern Jones County near the Centerville community where several homes had shingles blown off or parts of the decking exposed. A mobile home along Tommy Pickering Road was thrown and separated from the frame, with the highest winds in the EF2 range. As the storm moved northeast across US 84, trees were uprooted and snapped. Several homes on both sides of the highway had decking exposed or shingles blown off. At least one mobile home was destroyed along US 84. The tornado intensified to an EF3 causing significant damage to multiple homes along Danny Hillburn Road, where large sections of roofing was removed. Between US 84 and MS Highway 29, several mobile homes were completely destroyed and at least one separated from the frame. Several homes had one or more exterior walls collapsed or large sections of the roof removed.

The tornado continued to cause widespread destruction as it moved into the town of Soso. Several homes and churches received significant damage. Large swaths of trees were snapped and uprooted along MS Highway 29. Near the center of town, a fire station was heavily damaged when the overhead doors collapsed and portions of the roof were removed. Numerous homes had roofing removed and exposed decking. The worst damage occurred along MS Highway 28 where a convenience store was destroyed and several other cinder block structures were heavily damaged when the storm intensified to low end EF-4. The tornado continued to mow down large swaths of trees and caused major uplift and loss of roofing to numerous homes as it moved northeast toward MS Highway 15. Along Mathews Road numerous mobile homes and several outbuildings were completely destroyed.

The tornado intensified to a low end EF4 as it moved into the Moss community, where winds near 175 mph resulted in widespread devastation. Nearly every structure in the community was damaged with the most significant damage occurring along or near MS Highway 537. About half of the First Baptist Church of Moss was completely leveled. Numerous homes were destroyed or had major roofing loss or uplifted. A small pick-up truck was thrown several hundred yards and completely destroyed. In addition, multiple mobile homes were completely demolished.

As the storm tracked toward I-59 a few miles west of Heidelberg, hundreds of trees were mowed down, outbuildings were destroyed.  Several homes and mobile homes had metal roofing peeled back or decking exposed. Large swaths of trees were snapped for several miles including some along I-59 between the Heidelberg and Vossburg exits. Swaths of tree damage continued into the Barnett community. In the town of Pachuta there was scattered tree damage and the metal roofing was peeled off of a church. About two miles north of Pachuta, the damage became sporadic and the tornado lifted in a wooded area along County Road 130.

Subject matter experts continue to review the most intense portions of this tornado path, and additional adjustments remain possible over the coming weeks.


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