Tornado threat ramps up in the South, a day after storms and twisters killed 2 and injured more than 2 dozen in the region



CNN

There is a significant chance of severe weather in a three-state area in the South that could produce tornadoes on Wednesday, a day after storms and twisters killed at least two people and injured more than two dozen others in the region.

An “extremely dangerous tornado watch” — issued only when the most significant threats are expected, including long-range tornadoes — remains in effect Wednesday until 8 p.m. CT for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama .

Destructive storms were already underway early Wednesday afternoon, with at least one tornado suspected of damaging homes – leaving people trapped – and a medical center in New Iberia in southern Louisiana, officials said. .

The storms to the south are part of a massive system that is also delivering heavy snow – and blizzard conditions in some places – to northern parts of the central US.

Wednesday adds a Level 4 risk – the second highest of five levels – of severe storms for nearly 3 million people in eastern Louisiana, including New Orleans; southern Mississippi, including Gulfport; and southwest Alabama, including Mobile, the Storm Prediction Center said.

That level means severe storms are likely. High risk is rare in December – only five Decembers have been assessed at that level in the past decade, CNN Weather analysis shows.

“Many tornadoes are expected and a few severe tornadoes are likely,” the forecast center said Wednesday afternoon.

Tornadoes were already reported in the region on Wednesday. In Louisiana, a twister Wednesday morning damaged several homes in the city of New Iberia, and rescue efforts were underway to free an unspecified number of trapped people, city police said.

Also, Iberia Medical Center sustained “a significant amount of damage,” Capt. Leland Laseter said on Facebook. CNN is seeking comment from the medical center.

Severe weather also possible in surrounding areas: All told, about 14 million people from Louisiana to parts of Georgia are at some level of risk for severe weather Wednesday, according to the forecast center.

There have been at least 22 tornado reports since Tuesday from Oklahoma and Texas to Louisiana and Mississippi, including 17 from Tuesday through 6 a.m. CT Wednesday, and at least five since 6 a.m. CT Wednesday, including -includes in New Iberia Louisiana.

Along with the severe weather, there is a risk of moderate to heavy rain that could lead to flash flooding Wednesday in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and west-central Alabama, the forecast center says.

Wednesday’s threats come after Tuesday’s storms spawned tornadoes and splintered homes and businesses from Oklahoma and the Dallas-Fort Worth area to Mississippi — including Louisiana, where a boy and his mother were killed in one town and at least 20 others who was injured in another town.

In the northwest Louisiana community of Keithville, a boy and his mother were found dead after a tornado destroyed their home Tuesday, the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office said. The boy’s body was located Tuesday about a half-mile from the town, Sheriff Steve Prator told CNN affiliate KSLA.

The mother was found dead early Wednesday about a street away from where the house was, and two others in the community were injured, the sheriff’s office said.

A truck lies on its side Wednesday after a tornado hit Farmerville, Louisiana.  At least 20 people were injured when the tornado touched down on Tuesday night.

About 100 miles away, in the small town of Union Parish in Farmerville, Louisiana, at least 20 people were injured when a tornado struck Tuesday night, said Farmerville police Detective Cade Nolan.

Parts of an apartment complex and mobile home park in the Farmerville area were demolished, with downed trees and other debris littering roads and fields, a CNN crew saw Wednesday.

People inspect trash at a mobile home park in the Farmerville area of ​​Union Parish, Louisiana, Wednesday.

Tiyia Stringfellow, her boyfriend and two young children were in her Farmerville apartment when Tuesday’s tornado damaged it, she told CNN.

“We were in the kitchen closet. We only heard a whistle, and my boyfriend got up to look outside the window and saw the tornado. The whole house was shaking and (I saw) my roof cave in, and the house went dark,” Stringfellow said, adding that no one was hurt.

In Wayne, Oklahoma, an EF2 tornado damaged homes, outbuildings and barns early Tuesday, but no one was injured, officials said. Homes were flattened or roofs torn off, and trees were snapped like twigs, video from CNN affiliate KOCO shows.

Storm damage in Decatur, Texas, on Tuesday.

In Texas, at least seven people were injured Tuesday morning as severe storms pounded the Dallas-Fort Worth area – including at least five people injured across the city of Grapevine. There were two tornado reports in Grapevine, where police said a mall and other businesses were damaged.

The other two were injured Tuesday in Texas’ Wise County, northwest of Fort Worth, county officials said. One person was injured when their vehicle was overturned by the wind, and the other – also in a vehicle – was injured by flying debris, officials said.

An EF2 tornado struck that county near the communities of Paradise and Decatur, damaging homes and businesses, officials said.

Bad weather also left homes i ruins Tuesday near Blue Ridge in Texas, about 45 miles northeast of downtown Dallas, video from CNN affiliate WFAA shows.

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