JACKSON, MS - Today, weather officials from the National Weather Service in Jackson confirmed that a EF-2 tornado tore through Bienville National Forest on February 5th, around 3:20PM. Weather officials originally announced this tornado as a EF-U (unknown) as the damage path was inaccessible to vehicles and the weather was not sufficient to support a drone flight. You can read the full finding and summary below.
February 5th, 2020 Smith County/Shongelo Tornado
Estimated Maximum Wind: 115 mph
Damage Path Length: 2.65 miles
Maximum Path Width: 1/4 mile
Approximate Start Point/Time: 4 miles NNW Raleigh - 3:20 PM
Approximate End Point/Time: 6 miles N Raleigh - 3:24 PM
The tornado starting point was confirmed by drone footage just west of Bienville National Forest Road 527. It moved northeast, snapping and uprooting multiple trees in a convergent pattern as it crossed this road. Tree damage ramped up considerably just east of this location with more considerable tree fall as the tornado crossed Bienville National Forest Road 527-D, including a high percentage of snapped softwood trees and a few snapped hardwoods. In a previously-cleared forest area to the north of this road, nearly all of the dead trees that had remained standing were snapped within and along the tornado path. The road was blocked by numerous downed trees. Footage from a drone showed a well-defined vortex pattern in the fallen trees in this vicinity. The tornado weakened as it crossed MS Highway 35 north of Shongelo Lake and Smith County Road 120, where just a few trees were uprooted. It uprooted a few more trees along Bienville National Forest Road 533, including one that blocked the roadway, before lifting.