Oxford and portions of North Mississippi remained under a tornado watch until 12 a.m. Thursday morning.
The National Weather Service issued multiple tornado watches for Lafayette County and other parts of the state on Wednesday, the most recent being at 7 p.m.
The University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus closed at 3 p.m. on Wednesday due to the severe weather forecast. All regional campuses cancelled classes or held them remotely due to the closings of community colleges in those areas.
Most of northeast Mississippi was under a warning for moderate to high risk for severe thunderstorms, which is a 4 out of 5 risk level, throughout most of the day. Large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes were expected for Oxford according to a weather alert sent out by the university.
The university encouraged students, faculty and staff to stay aware of the weather and have a safety plan in place in the case a warning was issued.
“Be alert for the sirens or make plans so you will know when a warning is issued. Plan now for where you will seek shelter if the sirens sound,” an email read.
There have been at least nine tornadoes reported across the South according to the NWS’s Storm Prediction Center: two in Mississippi, six in Alabama and one in Louisiana.
According to the Clarion Ledger, there are numerous reports of tree damage across the state, but no damages from the storm have been reported in Lafayette County at the time of publication.
In the case that the city has more severe weather, there are four storm shelters located within the city limits: Oxford Utilities parking lot, the Oxford Activity Center parking lot, the recycling center next to Oxford Police Department and Oxford Fire Department Station No. 4.