Sunflower County Emergency Management Director Denny Evans confirmed on Tuesday that two EF2 tornadoes touched down in Sunflower County on the morning of January 11 and that they heavily impacted Drew and the Rome/Parchman areas.
The storms accompanied by gale-force winds and heavy rainfall downed powerlines causing power outages that left those areas without water for a time and resulted in schools and businesses being closed. They also smeared a path of debris and broken vegetation over a large swath on the northern end of the county.
Evans told the Sunflower County Board of Supervisors that the storms resulted in a varied degree of damage to at least 50 structures. Bottled water was donated and the Red Cross and others supplied meals.
District 1 Supervisor Glenn Donald commended Evans on his efforts and diligence during the disaster and added that Evans and his staff acted quickly. “He did what an EMA is supposed to,” Donald said.
In anticipation of questions arising from the board members Evans said, “Moving forward from here, I will be conducting an after-action review in the next week or two, determining what we did right, where we had mistakes, gaps and where we can improve.”
Evans said his plans include an assessment of the county’s resources and he also plans to establish a database that will house information on not only what resources the county has available, but the municipalities also. President Riley Rice asked if he had enough generators in case of emergency. During the recent storm Evans reportedly had to borrow a generator from Humphreys County.
Evans told Rice, “That’s the big question because you never know how many generators you need until you need them.” The EMA director said the county has some smaller generators, but the smaller ones would not be helpful in trying to power a building.
Rice also asked Evans if he needed any additional personnel. “If I had a deputy director that was full-time that would be beneficial,” said Evans. He said he has two volunteer part-time directors, but during that last round of storms, one was out of town and the other was affected by the storm.
Evans does reportedly have access to disaster reservists through MEMA and he said he called and requested help from them. Rice said the board would look into getting Evans some help.