Heavy storms, tornadoes hit South for a second day

JACKSON, Miss. — Potent thunderstorms rumbled across the South today for a second day, kicking up a tornado in Alabama that overturned a mobile home.

Heavy rain, high winds and possible tornadoes also toppled trees and damaged several homes in southern Louisiana, the National Weather Service said.

Forecasters warned that the storms would continue into the weekend, raising the threat of flooding from torrential rains in some areas.

In Alabama, the tornado struck near the Gulf Coast around 4:30 a.m. today, slightly injuring the occupants of a mobile home rolled by strong winds, authorities said. Several other people also had minor injuries, said Maj. Anthony Lower with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department.

Elsewhere in Alabama, high winds downed power lines and trees and ripped the porch off a house and damaged a barn later today. Forecasters warned that two days of storms raise the flood threat on some central Alabama streams and rivers in coming hours.

Steve Carlisle, a spokesman for Alabama’s Houston County emergency management office, said authorities were worried conditions could get much worse overnight tonight and on Saturday.

“We’re expecting a strong front coming through, and it’s supposed to be real tough Saturday morning all through the afternoon,” he said. “In this area, they’re expecting 9 inches of rain from Thursday through Saturday.”

In southern Louisiana, more than 9,000 utility customers had no power this morning as drenching rains flooded several roads along low-lying coasts, authorities said.

Southwest of New Orleans on Louisiana’s coast, officials reported more than a dozen homes flooded in Terrebonne Parish. Several streets also were swamped in and around New Orleans and five people went to a Red Cross shelter in Houma.

Authorities believe a small tornado was what destroyed a Louisiana woman’s home, trapping the 49-year-old victim in debris late Thursday. Ascension Parish emergency director Rick Webre said the woman was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released. Other homes were heavily damaged.

The soggy weather also threatened flash floods in parts of central Mississippi.

The lingering storms made for a difficult and soggy cleanup in Magee, a small Mississippi community where a twister early Thursday injured 28 people.

Victims of the tornado hurriedly cleared debris from dozens of flattened homes and businesses. Among them, members of Goshen Baptist Church struggled through mud today to clear trees that heavily damaged the building’s roof, covering the holes in hopes of keeping out more rain.

“They’re out there with tractors and chainsaws trying to remove those trees,” Pastor Mitch McWilliams said.

Also today, two tornado victims airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson remained hospitalized today. Pamela McCallum, 48, was in good condititoday and her boyfriend, Larry Pearson, 58, in fair condition a day after their mobile home was destroyed, officials said.

Elsewhere in southern Mississippi, two mobile home parks were evacuated early today when a creek began flooding, said Katherine Gunby, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

She urged Mississippi residents to remain alert for weather updates.

“What we’re doing right now is looking at the weather that could be coming in,” Gunby said. “We’re expecting some severe weather … and we want people to take precautions.”

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