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Twisters hit Walnut, Goat Island

A tornado toppled many trees in the Goat Island area at Pickwick Lake Saturday afternoon.

Photo by Cherrie Plunk

BY JEBB JOHNSTON

jjohnston@dailycorinthian.com

National Weather Service field surveys confirmed a powerful storm system dropped two twisters in the state's northeast corner on Saturday afternoon.

The first happened at Walnut in Tippah County at 2:36 p.m., and a stronger tornado hit Goat Island and the Goat Island Recreation Area in northern Tishomingo County beginning at 5:16 p.m.

The Goat Island tornado was classified an EF1 with peak winds estimated at 85 to 90 mph, and the Walnut tornado was classified an EF0 with peak winds estimated at 65 to 70 mph.

Most damage occurred in and west of the Goat Island Recreational area. The storm snapped a number of trees at the trunk, and many homes and recreational vehicles were damaged by falling trees. Several residences and metal buildings had roof damage.

After passing through the recreational area, the tornado crossed Pickwick Lake, hitting Goat Island, where it toppled many trees, and moved into the Yellow Creek industrial area, causing minor damage to an industrial building and a residence.

"The southern portion of the damage swath was characterized primarily by straight-line winds, likely as the rear-flank downdraft wrapped around the circulation," said NWS. "Evidence of the tornado was most prominent over the central and northern portions of the swath."

The tornado had a path length of 2.2 miles and a maximum width of 250 yards.

The Walnut tornado began a bit south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 72 and Mississippi Highway 15 at Walnut and crossed Highway 72 east of Walnut, ending 3.1 miles east-northeast of Walnut. Minor damage to buildings, storage sheds and trees occurred in the town, and the tornado damaged several power poles east of Walnut.

The weather service also noted a trained spotter's report of a possible tornado with a brief touchdown 5 miles north of Pickwick Dam at 3:26 p.m.

The twisters came two weeks after an EF2 tornado moved from southeast Alcorn County into Burnsville.

The weather service is monitoring the chance for some strong to severe storms in the region late Wednesday into Thursday.