Severe weather aims for the southeast after a deadly tornado killed two children in Franklin, TX.
A deadly front that drove a line of severe storms and tornadoes through much of the South was rolling east on Sunday with more wild, dangerous weather.
At least six people were killed and dozens injured as more than a dozen suspected tornadoes swept through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Saturday. On Sunday, several people remained unaccounted for and more than 120,000 homes and businesses in the region remained without power.
“There is concern that the severe thunderstorms with downpours and strong gusty winds continue to march across the mid-Atlantic, southern New York and into southwestern New England on Sunday night,” Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist said.
Wind gusts of 60-70 mph could accompany the storms, more than enough to topple trees and power lines, she said.
In East Texas, the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office said two children were killed Saturday when strong winds toppled a tree onto their family’s car in Lufkin. Capt. Alton Lenderman said the parents, who were in the front seats, were not injured.
Thirty miles away in Alto, Sheriff James Campbell said at least 25 people were injured, eight critically, after a tornado ripped through a cultural event at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site.
More than 100 miles to the west, a massive tornado estimated at EF3 strength with winds of 140 mph tore through Franklin, Texas, AccuWeather said. Robertson Emergency Management Coordinator Billy Huggins said more than a dozen people were injured and more than 50 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.
“The south side of Franklin looks like a war zone,” County Sheriff Gerald Yezak told Patch.com.
North of San Antonio, hail bigger than baseballs was reported, AccuWeather said
Mississippi was also hard hit. Authorities in Monroe County said Roy Ratliff, 95, was killed when a tree fell on his mobile home, and several people were missing and several homes were damaged in Hamilton, a rural hamlet of about 500 people 45 miles northeast of Starkville.
County Road Manager Sonny Clay said 19 people were injured, two critically. A hospital clinic, apartment complex, firehouse and several single-family homes were damaged. Clay told the Monroe Journal that Hamilton drew the most destruction, but that damage was widespread throughout the county.
“Radar has confirmed a tornado is on the ground with this storm,” the National Weather Service in Mississippi tweeted Saturday afternoon. “Take cover now!”
Starkville is home to Mississippi State University, and thousands of the school’s 21,000-plus students were huddled in basements and hallways as the storms roared by. The school’s crisis team was assessing the damage, spokesman Sid Salter said Sunday, adding that damage appeared to be minimal.
“Kudos to (university police and others) for excellent work keeping our students and staff safe,” Salter said. “Initial assessments are that we have no injuries, no visible structural damage, and no significant impacts on normal campus operations.”
National Weather Service meteorologist John Moore said a possible twister also touched down Saturday in the Vicksburg, 160 miles southwest of Starkville. No injuries were reported, but several businesses and vehicles were damaged.
In Louisiana, Deputy Glenn Springfield of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Department said two people died in floodwaters Saturday. And in Alabama, a Jefferson County employee was struck and killed by a vehicle while clearing toppled trees from a roadway.
The area at risk Sunday stretched from the upper Ohio Valley and central Appalachians to the upper Gulf Coast, AccuWeather warned.
“The storms will take on more of a squall line set up with the greatest threats being from damaging wind gusts, flash flooding and lightning strikes,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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