Storms upend one of North America’s largest tire plants

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) – Production at a large north Mississippi tire plant has ground to a halt in the wake of a damaging tornado, pausing operations at one of Goodyear’s largest production facilities in North America.

Storms that dropped possibly dozens of tornadoes tore through the South and Midwest on April 1, killing at least 26 and causing widespread damage. Cooper Tire and Rubber Company, which was acquired by the manufacturing giant Goodyear in 2021, has shuttered its Tupelo plant as officials oversee repairs to the facility.

Large sections of roofing atop the plant sustained heavy damage during the early morning storm that blew through Tupelo, which is about 115 miles (185 kilometers) southeast of Memphis.

Goodyear officials have not revealed a timetable for when the plant’s roughly 1,700 workers can return to work. Melissa Monaco, the vice present of communications for the Ohio-based company, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that waylaid workers would be paid for the duration of the shutdown.

The Tupelo plant is the second-largest production facility for Goodyear’s North American network, according to Modern Tire Dealer. The trade magazine estimates the plant produces about 42,000 tires per day.

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