Tornadoes that struck Mississippi Friday evening, March 24, killed 25 people, most of them in Rolling Fork in Sharkey County.
Two people were killed Friday night near Amory, in Monroe County, by the same series of tornadoes.
More than 20 of the dead were in tiny Rolling Fork, the county seat of Sharkey County in the Mississippi Delta. The population of Rolling Fork was just under 1,900 people. Sharkey County’s population has declined steadily since World War II and was calculated as just 3,800 in 2020.
Put another way, if the same percentage of people were killed in Union County it would amount to about 168 lives.
Union County, however, was fortunate. The line of tornadoes came through Union County about 9:30 p.m. A number of buildings, including residential structures, received some damage from trees felled by the wind, but there were no serious injuries.
Much of the electrical service in New Albany and other portions of Union County was knocked out by the storm. However, electric system crews from New Albany Light, Gas, and Water worked through the night Friday, and most power was restored before sunrise at 7 a.m. Saturday morning.
Joe Wilson, who lives near Highway 15 in north New Albany, reported 2.6 inches of rain. Some believed more rain fell in other parts of New Albany and Union County, but there were no measurements reported. There was extensive street flooding in New Albany. Firemen from the New Albany Fire Department rescued three individuals trapped in a vehicle stalled on a flooded street.
Main Street in downtown New Albany was flooded and closed to traffic. It appeared that a box culvert that carries Camp Creek from Main Street to Carter Avenue overflowed and deposited several dozen cubic yards of mud onto Main Street and the Union County Library parking lot.
Fire Department crews worked after daylight Saturday, flushing the mud and water from the street and parking lot. Prior to 2015 that portion of Camp Creek was a large open ditch. However, the city received a state grant of about $100,000 and replaced the open ditch with a large box culvert.
Camp Creek is a ditch that runs from behind New Albany High School, roughly parallel to the BNSF Railroad right of way, all the way through downtown New Albany. It runs under both Bankhead Street and Main Street in downtown New Albany. It was subject to frequent flooding before the box culvert was installed eight years ago.
The fire department and city street departments worked to clear the mud, and the street department will finish the clean up when the mud on the library parking lot dries.