At Least 6 Killed as Storms Hit the South

Apr 14, 2019

Update Sunday, April 14 at 2:58 p.m.

1:28 p.m.

 

Three more deaths are confirmed from powerful storms sweeping through the southern United States, bringing the death toll to at least six.

 

In Louisiana, Deputy Glenn Springfield of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Department said Sunday that two people died in floodwaters Saturday.

 

He says 13-year-old Sebastian Omar Martinez died during flash flooding in the community of Bawcomville, near Monroe. Responders pulled him from a drainage canal. Several hours later, a person died in a submerged vehicle near Interstate 20 in Calhoun.

 

A county employee in Alabama died after being struck by a vehicle while he was helping clear away trees toppled by the storm. Capt. David Agee of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says the worker was struck about 2:15 a.m. Sunday near in the Birmingham suburb of Hueytown and died after being taken to a hospital. His name was not immediately released.

 

Two children died in Texas when a tree fell on a car in which they were riding, and an elderly man was killed when a tree fell on his trailer in Hamilton, Mississippi.

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12:30 p.m.

 

Authorities say at least 25 people were taken to hospitals for treatment in East Texas after a suspected tornado struck the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site.

 

Police Chief Jeremy Jackson says the injuries occurred during a Native American cultural event in Alto, Texas. Alto is about 130 miles southeast of Dallas.

 

Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell says at least eight of those were injured critically.

 

Damage to the town's schools has prompted the Alto Independent School District has canceled all classes until its buildings have been found to be safe.

 

The National Weather Service was sending a survey team to Alto on Sunday to confirm if the storm was, indeed, a tornado. However, the area had been under a tornado warning at the time the storm hit.

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11:30 a.m.

 

Local authorities say the intense tornado that struck the Central Texas town of Franklin destroyed 55 homes, a church, four businesses, a duplex and part of the local housing authority building.

 

Robertson County Judge Charles Ellison told KBTX-TV of Bryan-College Station that the south side of the town of about 1,700 residents is destroyed.

 

Emergency Management Coordinator Billy Huggins said more than a dozen people were injured in Franklin, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northeast of Austin. None of the injuries were thought to be life-threatening.

 

The National Weather Service rated the tornado EF-3 with winds of about 140 mph (225 kph).

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11:05 a.m.

 

Authorities in Mississippi have identified the man who they say was killed after a tornado struck his town.

 

Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley says 95-year-old Roy Ratliff died late Saturday when a tornado toppled a tree onto Ratliff's home in the town of Hamilton.

 

Hamilton, Mississippi, is 140 miles (225 kilometers) southwest of Memphis, Tennessee.

 

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that a hospital clinic, some apartments, several storage units, a mechanic's shop and the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department all had major damage from the tornado.

 

Another shop and the Monroe County Morgue were destroyed.

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10:45 a.m.

 

Local emergency management officials say one person is dead after a tornado swept through a northern Mississippi town late Saturday.

 

Monroe County Road Manager Sonny Clay said at a news conference Sunday that a man was killed in Hamilton when a tree fell on his trailer.

 

Clay said 19 people were taken to hospitals for treatment, including two in critical condition.

 

Hamilton, Mississippi, is 140 miles (225 kilometers) southwest of Memphis, Tennessee.

 

Update Sunday, April 14 at 9:48 a.m.

Powerful, Deadly Storms Continue to Move Across South

 

Powerful storms that killed at least two people continued to move across the South on Sunday after spawning suspected tornadoes that left several people injured and multiple homes and businesses damaged or without power.

 

National Weather Service meteorologist John Moore said a possible twister touched down Saturday in the Vicksburg, Mississippi, area. No injuries have been reported, but officials said several businesses and vehicles were damaged. Trees were down throughout the hilly city on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi.

 

Heavy rains and storms continued to rake the Magnolia State into the night, moving into Alabama. Multiple people were injured and several homes were damaged in Hamilton, Mississippi, said Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley. A tornado was reported in the area 140 miles (225 kilometers) southwest of Memphis, Tennessee, at the time. At least one mobile home was destroyed, throwing a man from the mobile home. No fatalities were reported.

 

The roof of a hotel in New Albany, Mississippi, was damaged, although the cause was unclear. Mississippi State University's 21,000 students huddled in basements and hallways as a tornado came near the school's campus in Starkville. University spokesman Sid Salter said some debris, possibly carried by the tornado, was found on campus, but no injuries were reported and no buildings were damaged. Trees were down and at least some minor structural damage was reported in residential areas east of the campus.

 

In southeastern Alabama, meanwhile, a possible tornado has knocked out power and left damage in Troy, located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Montgomery. A mobile home community was damaged, but no injuries are being reported.

In East Texas, the Angelina County Sheriff's Office said an 8-year-old and a 3-year-old died when strong winds toppled a tree onto the back of their family's car in Lufkin while it was in motion. Capt. Alton Lenderman said the parents, who were in the front seats, were not injured.

 

The large storm system also knocked out power to thousands and caused some flash flooding. The weather service said the system is expected to shift to the Ohio Valley and the Southeast on Sunday. More than 140,000 customers remained without power in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas late Saturday.

 

Robertson County Sheriff Gerald Yezak told The Associated Press a tornado hit the small Central Texas city of Franklin, overturning mobile homes and damaging other residences. Franklin is located about 125 miles (200 kilometers) south of Dallas.

 

The weather service said preliminary information showed an EF-3 tornado touched down with winds of 140 mph (225.3 kph). Crews will continue to survey the damage over the next few days.

 

Two people were hospitalized for injuries not thought to be life-threatening, while others were treated at the scene for minor injuries, Yezak said. Some people had to be extricated from their homes.

 

Meteorologist Monique Sellers said they've received reports of downed trees, as well as damage to buildings and a transmission tower.

 

Winds of up to 60 mph (96.56 kph) were reported in Cherokee County, Texas, damaging two homes in Alto but not injuring anyone. Alto is situated about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of Houston.

 

Friday, April 12.

 

Severe Weather With Possible Tornadoes Forecast For South

 

The National Weather Service is warning pastors to have someone monitor the weather during Sunday services amid heightened risk for damaging tornadoes in parts of the South.

 

Forecaster Adam Baker in Georgia says a storm is expected to bring gusty winds and hail and potentially strong tornadoes on Saturday to Louisiana, Mississippi and some parts of western Alabama.

Thunderstorms will move into much of Georgia and the rest of Alabama on Sunday, with the possibility of isolated tornadoes as well as large hail and damaging winds. The weather service office in Birmingham advised pastors to figure out the safest location for their congregations in case of severe weather.

A series of tornadoes on Palm Sunday in 1994 killed 40 people in Georgia and Alabama, including 20 people at a church.