Local meteorologist prayed live on air as deadly storm neared town in Mississippi

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One Mississippi meteorologist shared his prayers for a local community live on a news broadcast moments before a tornado hit the city of Amory.

While on air March 24 shortly before 11 p.m., Matt Laubhan, chief meteorologist at WTVA, an NBC affiliate in Tupelo, Mississippi, was shocked during his broadcast when he saw that a tornado was heading straight for Amory on the radar.

“So Amory, we need to be in our tornado safe place,” Laubhan said, seconds before announcing that a new scan had come in.

"Oh man," he said in shock, pausing in his report for a brief moment to deliver a prayer for the community.

“Dear Jesus, please help them," Laubhan said. "Amen."

The National Weather Service reported that at least 12 tornadoes hit Alabama and Mississippi.

At least 25 people have died, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. One person was also reported dead in Alabama. Dozens more people were injured.

According to WTVA, there were no deaths reported in Amory as of Saturday afternoon.

Thirteen people of the at least 26 total killed were in the small town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, according to NBC News. A tornado warning for the area first went into effect just before 8 p.m. CDT.

Image: (Rogelio Solis / AP)
Image: (Rogelio Solis / AP)

Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency in the counties in Mississippi affected by the storms.

In a statement shared by WTVA, Reeves said he was “devastated by the destruction and loss of life that these storms have caused.”

“The state will be there to help them rebuild,” the statement read. “Please join me in praying for the family and friends of those who lost loved ones in this trying time.”

President Joe Biden also released a statement following the deadly events in Mississippi.

“The images from across Mississippi are heartbreaking," the statement read in part. "While we are still assessing the full extent of the damage, we know that many of our fellow Americans are not only grieving for family and friends, they’ve lost their homes and businesses.”

President Biden's statement continued, reading, "To those impacted by these devastating storms, and to the first responders and emergency personnel working to help their fellow Americans: we will do everything we can to help."

"We will be there as long as it takes," the statement concluded. "We will work together to deliver the support you need to recover.”

 

This article was originally published on TODAY.com