Army responds to Super Tuesday tornadoes

Disaster response units are deployed to five states.

A line of fast moving thunderstorms that spawned numerous tornadoes passed through Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma, and residents in the five southern states tried to salvage what they could from homes reduced to piles of debris. The Weather Channel reported 50 confirmed tornadoes and at least 48 fatalities, with the most deaths in Arkansas.

The Salvation Army quickly responded to the emergency, deploying mobile feeding units to Lafayette County, Miss., Lawrence County, Ala., and Oklahoma City, Okla.

Near Oxford, Miss., immediately following the tornado, the Army established a feeding location and served over 200 people with food, water and emotional support.

In Alabama, the Army set up a feeding site at the Tractor Supply in Moulton for residents of Lawrence County and first responders.

“We are prepared to offer hydration, snacks and warm meals, as well as emotional and spiritual care to victims, families and first responders affected by these storms for as long the need exists,” said Bill Feist, emergency disaster services director. “We are in communication with the state emergency operations centers in Mississippi and Alabama, offering our assistance to areas affected by the storms.”

A report from Oklahoma City states that Salvation Army emergency disaster personnel responded to numerous counties that experienced severe storm and tornadoes. There have been seven confirmed fatalities in four counties, and major damage is reported in at least 11 counties.

Twenty-four people were killed in Tennessee, 13 killed in Arkansas, seven killed in Kentucky and four killed in Alabama, emergency officials said. The tornadoes could be due to La Nina, the cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean that can cause changes in weather patterns around the world. It is opposite of the better-known El Nino, a periodic warming of the same region. Recent studies have found an increase in tornadoes in parts of the southern U.S. during the winter.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to support The Salvation Army’s relief efforts in these areas may do so by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or by visiting

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