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This is the dramatic moment a Mississippi meteorologist began to pray as he watched a mile-wide tornado crash into a small town. 

WTVA‘s Matt Laubhan, of Tupelo, grew emotional as he was reporting on the tornado that was heading straight toward Amory – 100 miles West of Birmingham – shortly before 11pm on Friday. 

‘Here’s the thing about this, y’all trust me too much,’ he said on the newscast. ‘I tell you where it’s going to go and some of you guys are like: “That’s where it’s gonna go.” The reality of this, this could be changing direction. So, Amory, we need to be in our safe place.’ 

The Kansas-born meteorologist barely looked up at the camera as he kept a close eye on the radar. When a ‘new scan’ came into the news station, Laubhan, a father-of-two, turned more distressed as he leaned down on the table for support. 

‘Oh man, North side of Amory, this is coming in’ he said. ‘Oh, man. Dear Jesus, please help them. Amen.’ 

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WTVA's Matt Laubhan grew emotional as he was reporting on the tornado that was heading straight toward Amory - 100 miles West of Birmingham - shortly before 11pm on Friday

WTVA’s Matt Laubhan grew emotional as he was reporting on the tornado that was heading straight toward Amory – 100 miles West of Birmingham – shortly before 11pm on Friday

Laubhan barely looked up at the camera as he kept a close eye on the radar. When a 'new scan' came into the news station, Laubhan turned more distressed as he leaned down on the table for support. 'Oh man, North side of Amory, this is coming in' he said. 'Oh, man. Dear Jesus, please help them. Amen'

Laubhan barely looked up at the camera as he kept a close eye on the radar. When a ‘new scan’ came into the news station, Laubhan turned more distressed as he leaned down on the table for support. ‘Oh man, North side of Amory, this is coming in’ he said. ‘Oh, man. Dear Jesus, please help them. Amen’

The Emmy-winning weatherman went on to say it would hit Highway 6, which leads into the center of town, within ’20 seconds.’ 

Twenty-three people died in the state from the tornado, including several in Monroe County – where Amory is located – among them a father and his daughter who were sheltering at home. His wife and other two children survived, but were hospitalized, according to NBC News

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Rolling Fork suffered from 13 weather-related deaths. 

‘The damage is tremendous,’ Sharkey County Coroner Angelia Eason told NBC News. ‘It’s awful.’ 

In Amory, a gas station was left heavily damaged and large planks of wood scattered across the ground and debris littered the area. 

Heavy flooding also took place in the area, as well as many downed tree limbs blocking roadways and littering roadsides. 

At least 11 tornadoes including at least one monster one-mile-wide 135mph tornado tore through the region Friday night, obliterating neighborhoods, ripping roofs off homes and downing power lines – leaving victims trapped under rubble and thousands without power.

Over 30 million people were under a tornado warning through the evening and were being warned to brace for the killer storms which brought golf ball-sized hail. 

A gas station was left heavily damaged and large planks of wood scattered across the ground and debris littered the area

A gas station was left heavily damaged and large planks of wood scattered across the ground and debris littered the area 

Another gas station was completely torn to shreds in the small town

Another gas station was completely torn to shreds in the small town 

Homes were destroyed and debris littered the ground after the gigantic tornado ran through

Homes were destroyed and debris littered the ground after the gigantic tornado ran through

Authorities warned those in its path to brace for a ‘life-threatening situation’ and on Saturday morning deployed search-and-rescue teams to several counties in the region.

A tornado confirmed by the National Weather Service (NWS) struck the towns of Silver City and Rolling Fork, the latter of which was described as ‘obliterated’ by one resident.

‘I’ve never seen anything like this,’ Brandy Showah told CNN. ‘This was a very great small town, and now it’s gone.’

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So far, recorded deaths include 13 roughly 60 miles northwest of Jackson in Sharkey County, home to Rolling Fork, according to county coroner Angelia Easton.

Three others were killed and at least two in a critical condition in Humphreys County, emergency management director Royce Steed told the outlet early Saturday morning.

In Carroll County, three people died in one home, coroner Mark Stiles said adding that it appears they were killed in a tornado.

Meanwhile, two people were killed in Monroe County in northeastern Mississippi, coroner Alan Gurley said.

The tornado has left a trail of destruction and storm debris at least 100 miles long, and is reportedly already battering Alabama.

The storms knocked out power for more than 100,000 homes and businesses across Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee as of 5.45 am ET, with more than 70,000 outages reported in Tennessee alone, according to PowerOutage.us.

Semi trucks were destroyed in Sharkey County after the storm hit. At least 23 people have died due to the storm and several more are injured

Semi trucks were destroyed in Sharkey County after the storm hit. At least 23 people have died due to the storm and several more are injured 

Wind and rain in Thaxton created an eerie visual outside as the tornado neared

Wind and rain in Thaxton created an eerie visual outside as the tornado neared 

NWS issued an urgent alert after the tornado touched down, cautioning: ‘To protect your life, take cover now’.

‘You are in a life-threatening situation,’ it warned. ‘Flying debris may be deadly to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be destroyed. Considerable damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles is likely and complete destruction is possible.’

Search and rescue teams have been deployed to Sharkey and Humphreys counties in Mississippi, while first responders were forced to disperse injured victims to surrounding hospitals after the Sharkey-Issaquena Community Hospital saw significant damage.

Mississippi resident Corney Knight said that he, his wife and their three-year-old daughter were at a relative’s home when the tornado hit, which he described as ‘eerily quiet’ just moments before.

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He added the sky was dark but ‘you could see the direction from every transformer that blew’.

Another home had its roof torn clean off following the devastating winds and lightning on Friday in Sharkey County

Another home had its roof torn clean off following the devastating winds and lightning on Friday in Sharkey County 

A house in Sharkey County is seen torn apart on Friday night after the tornado blitzed its way across the area

A house in Sharkey County is seen torn apart on Friday night after the tornado blitzed its way across the area

Severe damage has been reported in the town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, after the tornado ripped through homes and businesses

Severe damage has been reported in the town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, after the tornado ripped through homes and businesses

More than half a dozen emergency shelters have been set up throughout Mississippi after the twister ripped through homes and businesses.

After the twister first tore through the small town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, storm chaser Zachary Hill tweeted: ‘The damage in Rolling Fork, Mississippi is BAD. People are trapped, we need help here.’

Authorities stressed the urgency of the situation, and Hill said police begged him to get the message out: ‘Major tornado damage, we need as many ambulances as possible and any help for search and rescue in this town.’

Rolling Fork mayor Eldridge Walker told WLBT-TV the tornado left him unable to leave his home after it caused significant damage and downed power lines leading to his property.

‘The west part of Rolling Fork is a residential area, and just a number of houses over there have been completely destroyed,’ added former Rolling Fork mayor Fred Miller.

‘Highway 61, where most of our businesses are, all of the businesses on 61 have been completely destroyed. People are trapped in a couple of the eateries, and people are trying to get them out now.’



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