A meteorologist prayed live on air Friday as tornadoes ripped through Mississippi, leaving at least 23 dead.
“Dear Jesus, please help them,” said WTVA chief meteorologist Matt Laubhan Friday night, as he warned residents of Amory, Mississippi to immediately take shelter.
“Oh, man,” the Emmy winning weather professional said, briefly bowing his head as he offered the prayer.
“We can confirm 23 dead, dozens injured, 4 missing due to last night’s tornadoes,” the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency reported Saturday morning.
“We have numerous local and state search and rescue teams that continue to work this morning. A number of assets are on the ground to assist those that have been impacted,” the agency also reported.
“Unfortunately, these numbers are expected to change,” MSEMA also said of the morning update on the rescue efforts and death toll.
WTVA shared photos of twisted metal, damage to the National Guard Armory in Amory, and damage to many other homes, businesses, and structures.
Mississippi’s Gov. Tate Reeves (R), requested prayers Friday, as well, as the storms wracked the Magnolia State.
“Many in the MS Delta need your prayer and God’s protection tonight,” he tweeted, adding that search and rescue was ongoing.
The tornado that dropped around 8 p.m. near Sharkey County’s town of Rolling Fork was at least a mile wide and traveled for more than 90 miles, WAPT reported.
At least 13 people lost their lives in Sharkey County as a result of the storm, Sharkey County Coroner Angela Easton told ABC News.
Rolling Fork, Sharkey County’s county seat, is in western Mississippi. It is home to about 1,883 people in 663 households according to the 2020 Census.
Other Mississippi towns reporting significant damage include Anguilla and Silver Creek.
The storm reportedly took at least one life in Monroe County, where Amory is situated. Monroe County is in northeastern Mississippi, near the Alabama border.
“Y’all trust me too much, ok?” said Laubhan, whose personal Twitter bio says “JESUS ≥ Family ≥ weather.”
“I tell you where it goes, and some of you are like ‘that’s where it’s gonna go.’ But the reality is that this could be changing directions.”
Watch Laubhan offer a prayer in the video below, as the deadly storm barrelled toward Amory, Mississippi, a town of about 6,666 people roughly 27 miles from Tupelo.