Powerful storms roll across U.S. South, causing death and damage

KENNER, La. -- A deadly storm system that spawned tornadoes in Gulf Coast states Tuesday night was expected to bring severe weather to the Carolinas by Wednesday afternoon.

See Full Article

The Tuesday storms mangled trailers at an RV park, ripped roofs from buildings and killed at least three people in Louisiana and Mississippi, authorities said.

One of the hardest-hit areas in the Gulf Coast appeared to be a recreational vehicle park in the town of Convent, in southern Louisiana. Two people were killed there, said St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin, speaking on local television. Authorities were working into the early morning to look for people possibly trapped under the debris, Martin said.

Thirty-one people were taken to area hospitals and seven of them were in critical condition, he said.

"We never had anything like this; we never had this many people injured in one event, and so much destruction in one event," Martin told WVUE news. "We won't stop searching until we're satisfied we've searched every pile."

Martin said three people were still believed to be missing but efforts to account for them were hampered because authorities didn't know how many people were at the park when the storm hit or how many people were taken to hospitals in private vehicles.

Jerome Picou, who lives near the park, said just before the tornado hit that it was raining and the skies grew dark. Then he heard what sounded like a freight train.

"The wind was blowing a little bit, but then it stopped. Then all of a sudden all kinds of wind and rain started. It was so bad, I had to go inside the house or I would have been blown away with it," Picou said.

In Alabama and Georgia, forecasters issued flash flood watches ahead of the storm system, which was expected to drop 1 to 2 inches of rain. The warnings were expected to be in effect through Wednesday afternoon. The northern part of Georgia was also under a wind advisory.

The Wednesday forecast for the Carolinas calls for possible flash flooding and severe thunderstorms, including damaging winds, hail and isolated tornadoes.

Raleigh forecasters said straight-line wind gusts may be particularly strong, reaching 70 mph or greater.

News outlets in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida reported that schools in those states cancelled Wednesday classes ahead of the storm threat.

In Mississippi, officials Tuesday night were sorting through reports of damage to some buildings, but Vann Byrd of the Lamar County Emergency Management Agency said one person died in a mobile home west of Purvis. Lamar County Coroner Cody Creel said that Dale Purvis, 73, died of blunt-force trauma.

The reported tornadoes are part of a line of severe weather and storms that ripped through the region.

At least seven tornadoes hit southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi, said Ken Graham, the meteorologist in charge for the National Weather Service's southeast Louisiana office.

That number includes the one in Convent and near Purvis, Mississippi, he said. Teams will be sent out in the morning to document the damage and rate the tornadoes, he said.

The harsh weather even affected the National Weather Service, Graham said. At one point the staff in the Slidell office took shelter because a tornado was nearby, and lightning took out the office's radar, forcing them to use backups, he said.

"We felt the shockwave go through the building," Graham said.

In Florida, the National Weather Service said a tornado hit Pensacola. Meteorologist Steve Miller said the service has had many reports of property damage and people injured in storms Tuesday night.

Reported tornadoes and severe weather caused damage in other parts of both states.

A reported tornado caused some damage but no injuries near New Orleans' main airport, while high winds ripped off roofs and downed trees around the greater New Orleans area. Other suspected tornadoes were reported north of Lake Pontchartrain and west of the city in St. Charles and Ascension parishes and in Prairieville, between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, heavy damage was reported to some buildings, including a fitness gym.

Ronald Myers lives across the street from New Mount Bethel Baptist Church in Kenner, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans. He recalled the sky darkening and high winds -- he believes it was a tornado. He and his wife came outside when they heard the church's alarm go off. High winds sheared the brick and mortar from the rear wall of the church.

"My wife came over to turn the alarm off and she came back home and said, 'Baby, the wall behind the church has done fell down,"' said Myers. He said he struggled to keep his footing in the wind, and it nearly knocked his wife down.

Associated Press writers Janet McConnaughey and Bill Fuller in New Orleans and Max Becherer in Convent, Louisiana, contributed to this report



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Suspension casts clouds over shipbuilding

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA — The suspension of the military's second-highest-ranking officer has cast a pall over the federal government's multibillion-dollar plan to build new warships, which the Liberals had hoped was finally back on course after listing for years.Government and military officials remained tight-lipped Wednesday over why Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was abruptly stripped of his responsibilities last week by his boss, Gen. Source
  • Debt with dishonour

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Better sit down. Pull up a chair at the kitchen table, you and your spouse and the two kids. Keep everyone away from sharp objects. I’ve got a shocking number for you. A Canadian family of four — yes, you — pays $7,009 a year toward government debt. Source
  • Even before taking office, Trump has changed the presidency

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump enters the White House on Friday just as he entered the race for president: defiant, unfiltered, unbound by tradition and utterly confident in his chosen course. In the 10 weeks since his surprise election as the nation's 45th president, Trump has violated decades of established diplomatic protocol, sent shockwaves through business boardrooms, tested long-standing ethics rules and continued his combative style of replying to any slight with a personal attack -- on…
  • N.S. store owner funding alternative prom for students affected by teachers' dispute

    Canada News CTV News
    A Cape Breton store owner who says she was devastated by the thought of students not having a prom is stepping up to ensure thousands of high school students get to have a final dance. Source
  • 91-year-old man to attend 18th presidential inauguration

    World News CTV News
    SALEM, N.J. -- Although he's a Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton, a 91-year-old New Jersey man will still be travelling to Washington to witness his 18th presidential inauguration in person. WCAU-TV reports B. Source
  • Hundreds of Congolese rebels have fled military camp in Uganda

    World News CBC News
    Members of the M23 rebel group wait to be flown to the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a handover to the DRC government in 2014. More than 100 members of M23 have disappeared from a camp in Uganda where they'd been awaiting amnesty. Source
  • 'Get out of here': La Loche school shooting survivors speak about deadly day

    Canada News CTV News
    Phyllis Longobardi remembers hearing two blasts before she saw the gun. The assistant principal at the La Loche high school in northern Saskatchewan remembers that the lunch bell had rung on Jan. 22, 2016, and she was coaxing students to get to class. Source
  • Could the oilsands really be phased out? Here are the possibilities

    Canada News CBC News
    The question of whether Canada should phase out oilsands production seems to have an easy answer, depending on whom you ask. It is either a ridiculous idea, or a ridiculously obvious one. Does Canada care about its economy, or does it care about meeting its Paris climate objectives? Source
  • Inauguration to usher in a 'ringmaster president' and much uncertainty: Chris Hall

    Canada News CBC News
    Donald Trump is a day removed from becoming the 45th president of the United States, swept to power on a wave of voter disenchantment with politics as usual in Washington and a staunch belief that Trump's boast of making America great again is something real. Source
  • Canada Revenue Agency monitoring Facebook, Twitter posts of some Canadians

    Canada News CBC News
    The Canada Revenue Agency is scrutinizing the Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other social media posts of Canadians it suspects could be cheating on their taxes. That's just one example of the agency's increasing focus on what it can learn by collecting and analyzing many kinds of data — both its own internally generated information and what it calls "publicly available information. Source