(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WEATHER CHANNEL)
1 Person Killed as String of Tornadoes Leave Damage Across Louisiana and Mississippi
By Ron Brackett
- An extremely dangerous tornado barreled into northwest portions of Alexandria, Louisiana.
- Damage was reported along a stretch of Highway 28 in Alexandria.
- A tornado also caused damage in Edwards, Mississippi.
- The sheriff says one person was killed in Vernon Parish, Louisiana.
- People were reportedly trapped in homes northeast of DeRidder, Louisiana.
Tornado warnings exploded across parts of Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday afternoon, and reports of major damage began to emerge from both states.
As of Monday evening, the NOAA Storm Prediction Center had received 20 preliminary reports of tornadoes. Several of these were already confirmed by the National Weather Service.
A large and extremely dangerous tornado barreled into northwest portions of Alexandria, Louisiana, about 12:30 p.m. local time. The National Weather Service declared a tornado emergency for the area, which is home to about 47,000 people. A tornado emergency means there is a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage is imminent or ongoing.
Severe damage was reported at Hope Baptist Church and School on Louisiana Highway 28 south of the airport in Alexandria, KALB reported. No one was injured.
Highway 28 was closed from Stovall Road to the Walmart in Alexandria because of tornado damage, according to the Alexandria Police Department. No serious injuries had been reported, the department tweeted, but some buildings had heavy damage.
West of Alexandria, damage was reported in Vernon Parish. The parish Sheriff’s Office said there were reports of downed trees and power lines in the area. Sheriff Sam Craft told The Weather Channel one person was killed in their home by the tornado.
Vernon Parish Chief Deputy Calvin Turner told The Associated Press, “We’ve got damage at lots of places. We’ve got a church where the fellowship hall is torn all to pieces. Some homes are hit. Right now we’re having trouble just getting to places because of tress that are down.”
In neighboring Beauregard Parish, people were trapped in homes northeast of DeRidder, Louisiana, Chief Detective Jared Morton of the Beauregard Sheriff’s Office told WAFB. He also said “major damage” was reported along the Beauregard/Vernon line and to businesses along U.S. Highway 171.
At least two homes were destroyed in Webster Parish, KTBS reported. Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton also said trees were blocking parts of at least three highways in the parish east of Shreveport, Louisiana. KTAL reported that mobile home was destroyed in the parish. The family that lived there was not at home when the storm hit.
Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s officials said they have received numerous reports of tornado damage in the eastern and northeastern portions of the parish, KIFY reported. Cars, structures and roads have all seen wind damage. No injuries have been reported.
More than 14,000 customers in Louisiana were without electricity as of 3 p.m. local time, according to poweroutage.us. Another 6,000 homes and businesses had no power in Mississippi.
In Mississippi, damage was reported from a tornado in Edwards, about 24 miles west of Jackson, Mississippi. The damage was near Mt. Moriah Road and Highway 467, WLBT reported. There were reports of trees falling on homes and across several roads.
The National Weather Service said a tornado touched down shortly before noon in Newman, Mississippi, 12 miles east of Vicksburg.
About 2:45 p.m. a possible tornado touched down north of Liberty, Mississippi, in Amite County. The NWS said there were reports of injuries, damaged houses and people trapped in downed power lines.
Many schools in Mississippi and Alabama announced they would be closing early because of the weather. Mississippi State University in Starkville also announced it was closing at 2 p.m.
At around 5 p.m., a tornado was spotted and indicated on radar near Columbia in far south Mississippi. Another confirmed tornado from this storm struck near Laurel around 6:15 p.m.
In northern Mississippi a few miles from Tupelo, Guntown suffered storm damage, including significant damage to a church on the town’s northern side and an 18-wheeler blown off the road on Highway 45. It remains unclear whether this was caused by a tornado or straight-line winds.
A home was destroyed by a tornado in Sumrall, Mississippi, injuring at least seven people, according to the NWS.