Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant declared a State of Emergency in Mississippi on Thursday morning.
The declaration followed deadly storms and tornadoes that ripped through the state Wednesday evening.
According to Bryant, damage is being reported in at least seven counties: Benton, Coahoma, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Prentiss and Tippah. More than 40 people were injured and at least six people died in Mississippi during the storms.
Bryant released the following statement Thursday:
"Deborah and I send our thoughts and prayers to the families who have lost a loved one, those who are injured, and those who will now have to rebuild. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety are continuing their disaster operations to get resources to the most heavily affected areas. Mississippians are resilient in difficult times, and we will meet this challenge head on for those that are in need.”
By declaring a State of Emergency, the state allows local governments to ask for state resources to help with response and recovery associated with storm damage.
After getting a helicopter tour of northern Mississippi on Thursday, Bryant made his way to Ashland to see the damage on the ground. Bryant said it was among the worst tornado damage he has ever seen.
"For this time of year and to see such damage and to know that heartbreaks go along with that damage, families have lost loved ones, seven Mississippians have been lost in this storm, funeral arrangements will be planned, this is to be a joyous holiday season and it will not be for many," Bryant said as he fought back tears.