- Powerful storms with tornadoes are hitting the South.
- At least seven deaths have been linked to the storms.
- There were downed trees, flipped trailers and damaged homes in Hamilton, Mississippi.
- A ‘large and dangerous’ tornado damaged 55 homes in Franklin, Texas.
- About 7,000 spent the night at DFW after more than 680 flights were canceled.
Powerful storms that have already killed at least seven people continued raking across the South on Sunday, bringing destruction to parts of Mississippi and Alabama.
A number of tornado warnings were issued for parts of Georgia and North Carolina on Sunday afternoon after tornadoes left behind swaths of damage in Mississippi and Alabama earlier in the day. On Saturday, dozens of homes were destroyed in East Texas.
Shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, a tornado was confirmed near Troy, Alabama. A number of mobile homes were damaged and live web cameras showed an overturned vehicle and downed power lines.
Also on Sunday, Greg Michel, Monroe County Emergency executive director, told The Weather Channel one person was killed in Hamilton, Mississippi, late Saturday. He said multiple people were injured.
Two children were killed in East Texas on Saturday after a tree fell on the vehicle they were riding in during a severe storm, KTRE-TV reported. A woman who was injured Saturday when a tornado hit the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site near Alto, Texas, later died of her injuries, KLTV reported. Also in Texas, the Houston County Sheriff’s Office confirmed one fatality as a result of the storms, KYTX reported. No other details were available.
Two deaths in Louisiana was attributed to the storms. Deputy Glenn Springfield, a spokesman for the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office, told weather.com a 13-year-old boy drowned in a drainage ditch in West Monroe, Louisiana, about 4:50 p.m. Saturday. Rain had filled the ditch with water, Springfield said.
Springfield also said a person was found dead about 10:15 p.m. Saturday night in Calhoun, Louisiana, in a vehicle submerged in floodwaters on Golson Road, just south of the I-20 service road. The victim had not been identified.
More than 125,000 homes and businesses across the South and up into Kentucky and Missouri were without electricity shortly after 3:30 p.m. Sunday, according to poweroutage.us.
The storms brought hail to the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on Saturday and led to more than 680 flights being canceled. Airport spokesman Casey Norton told the Associated Press almost 7,000 people spent the night in DFW terminals.
One woman in Troy, Alabama, was trapped in her car Sunday morning when the tornado wrapped sheets of metal around the vehicle, WSFA reported. The station said a number of businesses were damaged.
Mobile homes were tossed about in the Hunters Mountain Mobile Home Park, the Troy Messenger reported. Roofs were blown off buildings in downtown Troy, which is about 44 miles southeast of Montgomery, Alabama. Streets were littered with debris and numerous homes and businesses were without electricity.
“We’ve had one minor injury reported so far, someone turned over in a vehicle due to wind,” Troy Mayor Jason Reeves told the Messenger. “Otherwise there are no other injuries reported. That’s a tremendous blessing.”
Cecelia Fran Quakenbush said one of the overturned mobile homes landed on her sons’ home.
“My daughter called and said ‘Get out now’,” Quakenbush told the Messenger. “I turned around and peeked out the front and (a mobile home) was up in the air and flipped onto the house. I laid to the ground and prayed for God to watch over us. I didn’t know if my sons were alive.”
The storm also toppled trees and damaged roofs in Shelby County, southeast of Birmingham, early Sunday, according to WVTM.
A 95-year-old man died late Saturday after a tree fell on his mobile home in Hamilton, Mississippi, about 93 miles northwest of Birmingham, Alabama, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported. Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley identified the man as Roy Ratliff.
Several people were hospitalized after the tornado, which also severely damaged a hospital clinic, apartments, storage units, a mechanic’s shop and the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department station. The Monroe County Morgue was destroyed, the Daily Journal reported.
Robert and Linda Scott were in their home of 53 years when the tornado hit Hamilton. “Next thing I knew, I was sitting in the yard,” Robert Scott told The Weather Channel’s Kelli O’Hara.
Scott said he was blessed to be alive as he stood in front of the mound of debris that used to be his house.
“We’ll rebuild and keep on going,” he told O’Hara. “That’s the main thing — that we’re alive.”
The AP also reported that a hotel roof in New Albany, Mississippi, was damaged earlier Saturday evening.
A “strong and dangerous” long-tracked tornado was reported in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Saturday afternoon.
Storm tracker Charles Peek told The Weather Channel the possible tornado busted windows and damaged a Kroger and other stores at a strip mall. He noted that the damage didn’t appear to be too extensive.
Multiple people were injured and multiple homes damaged, according to Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley. At least one mobile home was destroyed, throwing a man from the structure.
At Mississippi State University 21,000 students sheltered in basements and hallways. Debris and downed trees were spotted on campus but no injuries were reported.
The Angelina County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the deaths of the two boys on Saturday in East Texas. The sheriff said the children’s parents were able to exit the vehicle safely, KTRE reported. On Sunday, KETK identified the children as 3-year-old Jace Creel and 8-year-old Dilynn Creel. Dilynn was a second-grade student at Central Elementary School in Pollok.
The car was caught in one of numerous storms that caused damage in East Texas on Saturday.
A long-track tornado began Saturday morning south of Calvert, in Robertson County, before hitting the town of Franklin, located about two hours east of Waco. The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-3 tornado hit the town of about 1,700 people.
“It’s hard to describe,” Franklin Police Chief Terry Thibodeaux said. “You’ve got houses turned over. You’ve got houses off foundations. It looks like a bomb.”
The intense tornado destroyed 55 homes, a church, four businesses, a duplex and part of the local housing authority building, KTBX reported. Robertson County Judge Charles Ellison told the TV station that the south side of the town is destroyed.
People were trapped in their damaged homes, according to KHOU. There were reports of injuries, down trees, flipped trailers and damaged homes. There were also reports of collapsed buildings downtown.
Robertson County Sheriff Gerald Yezak told The Weather Channel there were numerous injuries, including many “walking wounded.” He said others were taken to the emergency rooms but he couldn’t say how many. He noted there were no reports of fatalities.
Judge Ellison told KHOUS on Sunday that about a dozen people were injured, some with broken bones.
Storm tracker Bob Pack told The Weather Channel he saw numerous homes damaged, trees snapped and cars blown off the road.
The tornado also damaged the Franklin Safari Park along Highway 79, but no animals escaped, ABC13 reported.
“Really it’s devastating because so many people lost their homes,” Franklin resident Shunte Witherspoon told KHOU. “Of course they can be replaced but … my cousin and her family were in their mobile home and they just started spinning. And if they hadn’t hit a tree, they’d probably still be spinning.”
Two tornadoes were confirmed to have hit the town of Alto on Saturday. The National Weather Service confirmed on Sunday that the earlier storm was an EF-2 tornado and the second storm was an EF-3.
Jeremy Jackson, chief of police in Alto, said 25 people were transported from the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site, where a field day event — the Caddo Culture Day — was underway when the storm hit. Jackson said the area took “a direct hit.”
Officials estimated 30 to 40 people were injured at Caddo Mounds, and four or five of those had critical injuries, KLTV reported. Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis confirmed that one of the injured women later died of her injuries, KLTV also reported.
Chief Jackson said dozens of home in Alto were destroyed and people became trapped by the storms.
“I’ve seen brick homes flattened,” said Jackson. “I’ve seen homes moved across county roads.
One of the two twisters caused a school gymnasium to collapse on one end.
The Alto school district has canceled classes until all buildings are deemed safe for students and staff, KYTX reported. The Kennard cancelled Monday classes because of power outages, KLTV reported.
Lufkin High School, which was damaged in the storm, also will not have any classes Monday.
Almost 22,000 customers remained without power as of 9 a.m. CT Sunday in Louisiana, according to poweroutage.us.
An image taken Saturday morning in Stonewall shows what could be another tornado.
Damage, including downed large trees, was also reported near Blanchard, Louisiana.
The weather system brought high winds to Missouri that left nearly 20,000 homes and businesses without electricity. Wind gusts of 60 mph hit St. Charles County about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported. Similar gusts were measured at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
The winds damaged the roof of the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis, which was built in 1834 and was the first cathedral built west of the Mississippi River, the Post Dispatch reported. Inside, the ceiling has water damage. Palm Sunday services at the cathedral were canceled.