Feb 10, 2013 10:11 PM by Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS - An apparent tornado has passed through the heart of Hattiesburg, Miss., as part of a wave of severe storms that have caused injuries and significant damage.
A Forrest County fire official says there's major damage in Hattiesburg and to the northeast in Petal, including on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
The university says several buildings have been damaged but no injuries reported. Campus police have declared a state of emergency and asked anyone not on campus to stay away.
A spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says that so far, the only injury reports from tornadoes in Mississippi are three people injured in Marion County. But he says the problem is there's too much debris to get into many areas.
He says the state is sending emergency equipment to Hattiesburg, and the McComb Fire Department has sent a six-person search and rescue team.
Nasty weather has settled in on much of Louisiana and Mississippi, including tornado or flash flood watches.
The National Weather Service says bad weather is likely to stretch into Fat Tuesday in southeast Louisiana. Jefferson Parish has canceled a Monday night parade.