MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Widespread damage across 25 Mississippi counties and the hardest-hit area on Saturday was DeSoto County where more than 200 homes were damaged. The cleanup is underway after two tornadoes touched down.
MEMA is expected to finish its Desoto County damage assessment survey Tuesday. Trees snapped in half and many of the homes on Allison Road are destroyed.
Preliminary estimates show roughly 210 homes in DeSoto County sustained damage from the storm.
Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann's tour of the county started in neighborhoods just south of Hernando, then he moved east to Lewisburg.
He told me this was the first time he’s ever witnessed this type of destruction and devastation.
Across the state MEMA is surveying damage from as far south as Hinds County to further north in Desoto County.
Statewide, more than 500 homes and dozens of apartments were damaged in Saturday's storm.
“People in our state, our people are neighbors first and you see all these people out here helping each other and you will see that all over Mississippi. 41 It’s just the way we are,” said Lt. Gov. Hosemann.
“We’ll do what we got to do and rebuild. I’ve lived here 30 years and we’ll start over,” said Lee Smart, Lewisburg tornado survivor.
Smart’s alert on his cell phone gave him and his wife minutes to take shelter before the EF-2 tornado ripped through their neighborhood.
“By the time it hit I just threw her in that closet there. It wouldn’t hold but one I put her in it. I just stood right there on that thing until it passed,” said Smart.
Hours later, daylight revealed the true damage left behind. His home likely to be deemed a total loss.
“Got out a few personal items and that’s it. Everything else is unsalvageable,” said Smart.
Smart’s home was part of Lt. Gov. Hosemann’s tour Monday of the storm damage across Desoto County.
For Mississippi to receive a federal disaster declaration, Desoto County will have to prove they have more than $619,000 worth of damage according to the Lt. Governor.
The total goes up to $4.5 million for the entire state to receive federal funds.
After his tour the Lt. Governor told me from what he’s seen, he expects Desoto County to reach that $619,000 mark.