The tornado destroyed some homes, Moore said.
According to NWS, the storm was at least an EF-3 storm; however, some of the hardest hit areas have not been assessed.
Four people were killed early Saturday when a tornado ripped through the area. Images of the wreckage show cars that had been flipped over and piled on top of each other, while parts of houses were ripped into shards of wood and debris.
Mississippi Power Company said 8,314 customers were without power after the storm. Emergency personnel are out working to clear roads, and there are multiple areas of downed power lines and gas leaks.
Mia Overton, William Carey's public relations coordinator, says the safety of the students is the number one priority at this time. Its Tradition campus near the coast is still open.
Hattiesburg city officials said four people were confirmed dead and that the mayor, Johnny DuPree, had signed an emergency declaration amid "significant injuries and structural damages".
MEMA has received reports of extensive damage from ongoing severe weather this morning.
The university said students were escorted from the Hattiesburg campus and arrangements were made for students who couldn't go home. Flynn said the tornado touched down in Lamar, plowed through Forrest and then struck Perry before dissipating.
Damage also was reported elsewhere in Forrest County - which includes Hattiesburg - as well as Lamar and Perry counties, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said.
The National Weather Service said three to five inches of rain have already fallen, raising the risk of flooding, and that more rain is possible.
The front porch and a auto port blew off of Harold Morgan's house, damaging multiple vehicles that belonged to his family members. The best way to get up-to-date information during this event is to "Like" MEMA on Facebook, or "Follow" us on twitter @msema.