NWS confirms 3 severe tornadoes in Tennessee, Arkansas; damage surveys ongoing

The National Weather Service in Memphis on Sunday said survey crews determined three EF3 tornadoes touched down in Covington and Adamsville, Tennessee, and in Wynne, Arkansas, on Friday.

The NWS said the results are still preliminary and more details including path length, width, injuries, fatalities and what happened along the path would emerge in the following days. An EF2 tornado was also confirmed to have touched ground in Lewis County in Middle Tennessee.

An EF3 tornado is described as having wind speeds from 136 to 165 mph and is classified as "strong" and "severe", according to NWS.

Four NWS service crews will investigate storm damage in North Mississippi, East Arkansas and West Tennessee on Sunday that occurred Friday evening and overnight.

Three of those crews plan to continue their focus on areas of “enhanced” damage including one location of Cross County, Arkansas, near Wynne and two areas of West Tennessee including Tipton County near Covington.

“These surveys are expected to be complex and will likely take several days to complete,” the NWS said in a news release. “Additionally, crews may need to coordinate with surrounding NWS Offices to determine the final rating and path length of any tornadoes.”

Tennessee tornado damage: In McNairy County, tornado survivors salvage belongings, recall fearful night

Covington tornado damage: Covington reeling with one dead, 28 injured after strong storms, possible tornado damage homes, buildings

Arkansas tornado damage: Wynne devastated by deadly storm: 'We’re just worried about a lot of people'

The three storm cells that hit McNairy County Friday night caused damage to 35-40% of the county, officials said Saturday. The county reported nine fatalities. Adamsville is located in McNairy and Hardin counties, and NWS planned to send a crew to the county line.

Meanwhile, the storm that slammed into Covington and Tipton County left one dead and 28 others injured, authorities there said Saturday. Crestview Elementary and Middle in Covington suffered significant damage. Covington's electrical grid was "majorly hit" with telephone poles falling across the roads, Mayor Jan Hensley said.

Located about 50 miles from Memphis, Wynne saw significant damage to its high school, with a shredded roof, blown-out windows and debris scattered throughout the inside of the school and the surrounding area, as well as damage to countless homes and businesses. Wynne reported four fatalities.

NWS Memphis said an additional crew from NWS Jackson, Mississippi, will begin survey damage in North Mississippi in Tunica and DeSoto counties.

On Monday, the National Weather Service confirmed an EF1 tornado hit near the Eudora area in southwestern DeSoto County.

Confirmed or suspected tornadoes throughout the country struck 11 states and destroyed homes and businesses, splintered trees and lay waste to neighborhoods.

Residents across a wide swath of the U.S. South and Midwest raced to assess the destruction Sunday wreaked by storms that dropped possibly dozens of tornadoes and killed at least 29 people in small towns and big cities.

The dead included the nine in McNairy County in Tennessee; the four people in Wynne; four in Illinois; and three in Sullivan, Indiana. Memphis Police Department also reported three deaths on Saturday that it believes are storm related.

In the Little Rock area, at least one person was killed and more than 50 were hurt, some critically. The National Weather Service previously said that tornado was a high-end EF3 twister with wind speeds up to 165 mph (265 kph) and a path as long as 25 miles (40 kilometers).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Omer Yusuf covers the Ford project in Haywood County, FedEx, tourism and banking for The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached via email Omer.Yusuf@commercialappeal.com or followed on Twitter @OmerAYusuf.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: NWS confirms tornadoes in Tennessee, Arkansas as they assess damage