Mississippi girl believed swept away by flooding as rain batters Southeast

Posted at 11:10 AM, Apr 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-07 11:10:29-04

(CNN) — A flash flood is believed to have swept a 9-year-old girl into a culvert in west-central Mississippi on Sunday night, prompting a desperate search that stretched into Monday morning as heavy rain battered the area, officials said.

The girl’s disappearance came as rain pounded parts of the U.S. Southeast — storms that flooded areas in Mississippi overnight and threatened more of the same in parts of Alabama, Georgia and Florida on Monday.

The girl’s mother reported that floodwater pulled the girl into a channel under a road around 8 p.m. CT in Yazoo City, which received 4 to 5 inches of rain in a short period, Yazoo County Emergency Management Director Joey Ward said.

Rescuers searched the area and several other rain-swollen drainage ditches with no other sign of her, CNN affiliate WJTV reported. The search continued Monday morning, the state’s emergency management agency said.

Flash flood watches or warnings were in effect Monday morning for parts of southeastern Mississippi, much of Alabama, a large portion of Georgia and the northwestern Florida panhandle.

A tornado is believed to have touched down in Covington County in south-central Mississippi around 2 a.m. Monday, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said. Seven people had minor injuries and several homes were damaged as a result of the storm in that county, the agency said.

CNN’s Kevin Conlon and John Branch contributed to this report.