VIDEO: Aerial footage of Pine Belt tornado destruction - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

VIDEO: Aerial footage of Pine Belt tornado destruction

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
HATTIESBURG, MS (WLBT) -

Four people are dead after a large tornado ripped through parts of Hattiesburg and Petal in the early hours of Saturday morning.

According to the Forrest County Coroner, the names of the victims are 58-year-old Ernest Perkins, 20-year-old Cleveland Madison, 47-year-old David Wayne McCoy, and 72-year-old Simona Cox.

Extensive damage has been reported on Arledge Street near the Hattiesburg Police Department. Damage is evident for multiple blocks. There are reports of structures destroyed, roofs missing and downed trees and power lines.

Emergency responders from across the state have traveled to the Pine Belt to help with recovery efforts. 

Governor Phil Bryant has declared a State of Emergency of the affected areas. 

There is also extensive damage in Petal.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol is reporting Interstate 59 north of Hattiesburg is closed due to debris.

There are power lines and debris over a large area so the public is asked to avoid traveling.

There has also been damage reported in Purvis. 

Severe weather is still moving through the southeastern part of the state.

The State Emergency Operations Center is activated providing resources as needed from counties.

The Hattiesburg Police Department is receiving assistance from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, University of Southern Mississippi Campus Police, the Mississippi Hwy Patrol and a host of other state and local agencies from across the region.

Stay with MSNEWSNOW for the latest updates. 

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