The 21,000-student university ordered students into basements late Saturday night as a tornado approached the campus in Starkville. Residents report trees down and at least some minor structural damage to residential areas nearby, including some areas where students live off campus.
Mississippi State spokesman Sid Salter says university officials are still looking for damage, especially in outlying areas of campus. The debris on the campus may have been dropped by a tornado that had been confirmed on the ground southwest of the campus.
Heavy rains were also producing flash flooding in the area. Starkville was full of visitors Saturday because Mississippi State held its spring football game and a baseball game. 6:15 p.m. Authorities say a possible tornado has touched down in western Mississippi, causing damage to several businesses and vehicles.
John Moore, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Jackson, says a twister was reported Saturday in the Vicksburg area of Mississippi and was indicated on radar. No injuries were reported. News footage from the area showed shattered windows and rooftop debris from businesses, flooding in parking lots and cars with windows smashed out.
Moore tells The Associated Press by phone that meteorologists haven't yet confirmed it was a tornado. Severe storms crossing a big swath of the South, including parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, have knocked out power to thousands and caused some flash flooding. Damage also has been reported near Satartia, Mississippi, from the storms.
Authorities in East Texas say two children were killed after a tree fell on a car as it was being driven during a strong storm.
The Angelina County Sheriff's Office says an 8-year-old and a 3-year-old died Saturday when the tree toppled onto the back of their family's car in Lufkin while it was in motion. Capt. Alton Lenderman says the parents, who were in the front seats, were not injured.
Additional details were not immediately available. In nearby Cherokee County, winds of up to 60 mph damaged two homes in the town of Alto, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of Houston.
Authorities say about a dozen people in Texas have been injured in powerful storms that have spawned at least one suspected tornado and damaged homes and other property.
Robertson County Texas Sheriff Gerald Yezak (YEZ'-ik) told The Associated Press that a suspected tornado hit Franklin on Saturday, overturning mobile homes and damaging other residences. Franklin is a small city about 125 miles (200 kilometers) south of Dallas,
He says two people were taken to a hospital with injuries that aren't thought to be life-threatening and that about a dozen others were treated at the scene for minor injuries, including people who had to be extricated from their homes.
Yezak says two of the people injured Saturday when a likely tornado touched down near the cities of Hearne and Franklin were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.
National Weather Service meteorologist Monique (moh-NEEK') Sellers says the agency received reports of downed trees, and damage to buildings and a transmission tower.
The storms are part of a large system moving through the southern U.S.
A large storm system that dumped snow on Colorado and is threatening to make it a soggy weekend for many states to the south and east has drenched parts of Texas and spawned a possible tornado that didn't hurt anyone.
The National Weather Service says thunderstorms are expected Saturday from Texas to Alabama. The system shifts to the Ohio Valley and the Southeast on Sunday.
A tornado watch is in effect for East Texas through 7 p.m. Saturday. Winds of up to 60 mph (97 kph) were reported Saturday in Cherokee County, damaging two homes in Alto (AL'-toh) but not injuring anyone. Alto is about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of Houston.
Forecasters in central Texas reported a possible twister Saturday in Robertson County, near Hearne and Franklin. Nobody was injured.
Meanwhile, the Dallas area has received more than 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain.