A violent tornado caused major damage to the University of Southern Mississippi campus and to the city of Hattiesburg on Sunday evening. The damage to university buildings and others in the south Mississippi city is still being evaluated by state emergency and local officials, but Forest County Fire Coordinator Chip Brown confirmed major damage in the cities of Hattiesburg and Petal.
The University of Southern Mississippi police have declared a state of emergency for the campus. An announcement on the USM website urged those not on the university campus not to return until further notice.
Brown said he could not confirm injuries at this time, but the State Emergency Management Agency reported three injuries in Marion County, one of thee southern Mississippi counties in the path of the storm.
Southern Mississippi State students were on holiday for the Mardi Gras celebration through Tuesday.
Update: According to news reports, 53 USM students were treated for injuries sustained during the tornado that touched down on the University of Mississippi campus Sunday evening.