At least six people are killed as Easter storms and tornadoes pound the Deep South as people head to public shelters while trying to social distance during the coronavirus pandemic
- Tornadoes touched down in Texas and Louisiana with tornado watches issued in Alabama and Mississippi
- The states of Oklahoma and Mississippi urged people to respect social distancing while still taking shelter
- Six deaths were reported along with dozens of homes destroyed while utility companies reported thousands of power cuts
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
Strong storms pounded the Deep South on Sunday, killing at least six people in south Mississippi and damaging up to 300 homes and other buildings in northern Louisiana.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency director Greg Michel said one person killed was in Walthall County, two were killed in Lawrence County and three were killed in Jefferson Davis County. All three counties are more than an hour’s drive south of Jackson, near the Louisiana state line.
It was part of a swathe of dangerous weather including tornadoes and thunderstorms moving across the south of the country.
The National Weather Service said strong winds were sweeping through other parts of Mississippi, and a tornado was spotted north of Meridian near the Alabama state line.
Strong to severe thunderstorms have been moving eastwards through the lower Mississippi Valley throughout Sunday with tornadoes recorded to have touched down in Texas and Louisiana over the weekend.
About 300 homes were damaged or destroyed in Monroe, Louisiana after a tornado swept through the area on Sunday
A home had its roof torn off after a tornado ripped through Monroe, Louisiana just before noon on Sunday
Neighbors inspect a house for occupants in Monroe after an Easter tornado ripped through the town just before noon Sunday
Strong storms pounded parts Louisiana on Sunday, damaging 200-300 homes, according to the mayor of Monroe
The scene was one of devastation in Monroe and it’s believed around 20 homes in one neighborhood were damaged
Strong storms pounded parts of the Deep South, including this house and shed in Yazoo County, Mississippi
One tornado as pictured on twitter was thought to be up to two miles wide and the user urged people to take cover
People were urged to head tornado shelters as the storm approached with people still having to socially distance themselves
Residents of Starkville, Mississippi gathered in a storm shelter as storms passed overhead . Many were wearing face masks
The storms were strong enough to topple this eighteen-wheeler in Monroe, Louisiana
The National Weather Service reported multiple tornadoes and damaging winds over much of the northern part of the state. Utility companies reported thousands of power outages.
The city of Monroe, Louisiana, said the storm damaged commercial buildings and homes in multiple neighborhoods.
The mayor of Monroe, Jamie Mayo, told KNOE-TV that the storm damaged 200-300 homes in and around the city.
‘The images and reports of major tornado damage in the Monroe area are heartbreaking and my prayers are with the people there. We are in contact with local officials in the area to provide support,’ Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Twitter. ‘I hope all of Louisiana is on high alert right now.’
Flights were canceled at Monroe Regional Airport, where siding was ripped off buildings and debris was scattered on runways. Airport director Ron Phillips told the News-Star the storm caused up to $30 million in damage to planes inside a hangar.
In northwest Louisiana, officials reported damage to dozens of homes in DeSoto and Webster parishes.
In northwest Louisiana, officials reported damage to dozens of homes in DeSoto and Webster parishes, according to news outlets.
The weather service had said the greatest risk for strong Easter Sunday storms covered much of Mississippi, Alabama and western Georgia. That area was at ‘moderate risk’ while much of the rest of the South was under at least a ‘marginal’ risk, the weather service said.
In Morgan County, Alabama, a church roof and steeple were damaged by lightning Sunday afternoon, Morgan County Emergency Management Agency Eddie Hicks told AL.com.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency tweeted out pictures of staff monitoring the severe weather but advised people to still attempt to respect social distancing rules.
‘Director Michel and our team are monitoring the weather and standby ready to assist. Have a safe place to go. If you go to a public shelter please wear a mask, bandana, or scarf around your nose and mouth. Practice social distancing. We will get through this!’
Un Louisiana, the storms come as the state remains one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 20,000 cases including more than 800 deaths as on Sunday. Texas currently has 12,561 reported cases including 254 deaths.
The National Weather Service sent out weather alerts for those in various counties across Alabama
Staff at the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency were monitoring the weather throughout the day on Sunday
‘Our team are monitoring the weather and are ready to assist. Have a safe place to go. If you go to a public shelter please wear a mask, bandana, or scarf around your nose and mouth. Practice social distancing. We will get through this!’ they tweeted
The hail was literally the size of a baseball as this side-by-side comparison clearly shows
Some of the hail that fell was larger than two inches, larger than a golf ball and in cases as large as a baseball
The destructive baseball sized hail smashed through windows in Del Rio, Texas, 200 miles southwest of Austin
The National Weather Service had declared a tornado emergency for Monroe and the surrounding communities at 11:44am CDT as a confirmed ‘damaging’ tornado was hitting the area
Footage was shot by one man driving along I-20 near Arcaria, Louisiana which saw downed trees lining the highway
Rick McGee ins San Angelo, Texas filmed the roof of his shed flying away as he videoed the storm from his home
Shoals Creek Baptist Church in Priceville was struck by lightning around 12:45 p.m. No injuries were reported.
‘This could be a very difficult day weatherwise,’ Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves told residents in a live Facebook presentation earlier in the day.
‘Please be weather aware. Pay attention. I know that these storms that are coming through can be dangerous. We can see significant winds. We can also see significant tornadoes coming through Mississippi today.’
The weather service said a broader area, from east Texas to the East Coast was under at least a ‘marginal’ risk of storms.
Portions of central Texas were under tornado warnings as the twisters touched down accompanied by what witnesses called ‘gigantic’ hail. P
Photos of the damage in Round Mountain, Texas, about an hour west of Austin, showed overturned trees and a trailer destroyed by the storm.
Neighbors and family help to clean a damaged home in Monroe, Louisiana after a tornado ripped through the town
Multiple planes and hangers suffered damage at the Monroe Regional Airport in Louisiana
A destroyed hangar and damaged planes are seen at Monroe Regional Airport in Monroe, Louisiana
Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., he is seen talking on his phone in front of a destroyed hangar and damaged planes at Monroe Regional Airport in Monroe, Louisiana
Video seen from the train tracks in Monroe show powerlines that were snapped like twigs as the tornado passed through
This warehouse in Monroe was destroyed as paneling was ripped from the walls and cladding strewedn all over the road
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