Tornadoes hit Louisiana killing three, injuring at least 30

Several tornadoes in southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi kill three, injure at least 30 people, destroy homes and businesses

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Debris from a damaged water tower is shown in this handout photo provided by Assumption Parish Sheriff's Office, west of New Orleans, Louisiana on February 23, 2016.

Several tornadoes cut a swath of damage across southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi on Tuesday, killing three people and injuring at least 30 others, knocking down a water tower and destroying homes and businesses, according to forecasters and emergency officials.

St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin Jr. told several local media outlets that one person was killed and numerous others were injured when an apparent tornado hit the Sugar Hill RV Park in the town of Convent.

The Advocate newspaper, citing Martin, said the storm levelled most of the estimated 160 mobile homes in the park, but it was not clear how many residents were home or injured.

Acadian ambulance services in Louisiana said it had transported 28 people from the mobile home park in St. James Parish to area hospitals and another three patients from nearby Assumption Parish, west of New Orleans, according to the agency's Twitter feed.

More severe weather was expected Tuesday evening as the storm system moved eastward, forecasters said.

Weather officials were tracking more than a dozen reports of tornadoes in the region on Tuesday afternoon, said Mike Efferson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in New Orleans.

About 31,000 customers were without power in Louisiana, according to Entergy Louisiana, the main electricity supplier in the area.

In Assumption Parish, a tornado knocked down a water tower and damaged homes, said Deputy Robert Martin of the Assumption Parish Sheriff's Office.

Up to 20 homes were reported destroyed, and firefighters rescued residents with minor injuries from four homes, said John Boudreaux, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in Assumption Parish.

Residents reported damage to homes from tornadoes and golf ball-sized hail on the Mississippi Gulf Coast as the system barrelled across the US South, Efferson said.

"It's still going, and this system is going to continue to have a threat for tornadoes as it moves east through the night into Mississippi and Alabama," he said.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryan declared a state of emergency for areas expected to be affected by the storm.

Schools and government offices cancelled classes or closed early in Louisiana and Mississippi as severe weather warnings lined up from Louisiana to Florida and Georgia.

The National Weather Service said Alabama could see tornadoes with damaging winds up to 70 miles per hour (113 km per hour) and hail early Wednesday.

By midnight, the severe weather was expected to hit southwestern Georgia and could reach Atlanta and central Georgia before the morning rush hour on Wednesday, said Adam Baker, a meteorologist for the weather service's Atlanta office.

TRTWorld, Reuters