May 8, 2014
I hope this letter finds you doing well. On April 28, 2014, a tornado struck Tupelo, MS, and caused damage primarily in residential areas and a business area that is less than three-quarters of a mile long. There was one fatality in our county that was attributed to the storm and miraculously, only minor injuries were reported. The clean-up efforts by residents and volunteers in our community have been both overwhelming and humbling.
The storm hit Monday afternoon, and by Tuesday afternoon our mayor was instructing us to get back to normal as soon as possible. Our schools resumed classes on Wednesday and Tupelo Parks and Recreation league baseball games resumed the Thursday night after the storm. The weekend following the tornado, we hosted 90 baseball teams at the Ballard Park Sportsplex and over 750 classic cars during the Blue Suede Cruise Car Show at the BancorpSouth Arena.
Three hotels (239 hotel rooms) were damaged and will have to close for an extended period of time. Meanwhile, the other 1,677 hotel rooms in our community are open and ready for your business. Tupelo’s restaurants are open for business, as well, as 95% of our restaurants were untouched by the storm and less than four restaurants are not operating because of damage.
As you can see, Tupelo is open for business and on our way to a new normal for impacted residents and businesses. We encourage you to come to Tupelo and do your part to help us recover from this storm by swimming, eating in our restaurants, shopping at our regional mall or one of our other shopping and retail districts. All of our tourist attractions were unaffected by the storm. We not only want you in Tupelo, we need you in Tupelo.