Following the Columbus tornado and accompanying storms on Feb. 23, most of Oktibbeha County’s damage has been repaired, or will be repaired soon.

Oktibbeha County Emergency Management Director Kristen Campanella said during the severe weather event, her department received regular updates on conditions from the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office. Campanella said when the OCSO came across a hazard, county EMA officials were immediately notified. Campanella said her agency then notified county road crews.

“Repairs on those roadways began as soon a weather permitted,” Campanella said. “Some roads were initially closed during the event, but were opened as soon as the waters receded, damage was assessed and repairs were made.”

Campanella also said a home on Chicago Road in Oktibbeha County near Longview received damage from floodwaters and sewage during the weather event. Campanella said she began submitting damage assessments to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) on Feb. 28. All roads closed due to flooding in the county have been reopened since the storms. Campanella said her department followed its usual protocol for weather
events, dispatching the appropriate law enforcement agency immediately after issues are reported.

“During storm events, my department is in contact with our elected officials and our department heads with regard to what we are expecting to receive and when, in order for them to begin planning for response in the event our area is impacted,” Campanella said.

She said Oktibbeha County received minimal flood damage compared to others in the district. However, she said the flooding was so widespread that all reports statewide would help Mississippi receive federal relief.

“All reports submitted help Mississippi to possibly receive a declaration that can open up federal monies through individual and public assistance for communities to recover from this event, but also to mitigate against future disasters,” Campanella said.

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