BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Storms moving through the Deep South with howling wind and pounding rain were blamed for at least one death and left nearly 110,000 homes and businesses without electricity early Thursday.
At least two other people were sent to a hospital because of a possible tornado touchdown in Louisiana, and forecasters said the weather threat would last hours more.
The Storm Prediction Center reported trees and utility lines down across a wide area from eastern Louisiana to northwest Alabama, and radar showed storms reaching from the Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety said Alcon State University student Jayla A. Gray, 19, of Jackson died when the car in which she was a passenger struck a tree that had fallen across a highway near the town of Port Gibson, which is about 60 miles (96 kilometers) southwest of the capital of Jackson. The driver and another passenger escaped injury, the agency said in a statement.
Troopers said weather was a factor in the wreck, which happened about 3 a.m. CDT, or just minutes after a storm toppled trees near Kevin Bryant's mobile home a few miles away in Port Gibson. Daybreak revealed a shattered community littered with broken trees and pieces of buildings, said Bryant.
"It tore up trees and old businesses that had been sitting awhile. Everybody is without power," he said. "It definitely woke you up. That wind was howling."
Bryant wasn't hurt, but two people were taken to a hospital when a mobile home that flipped west of Bogalusa, Louisiana, said Bobbi Jo Breland, assistant director of the Washington Parish office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said in an email. She did not know the extent of their injuries.
A roof collapsed on a nearby home and one person had to be rescued there, Breland said.
Forecasters said the storms would bring a threat of tornados, heavy winds and drenching rain. The storms were expected to move into Georgia later Thursday.
At least 110,000 customers were without power as the storms moved eastward. The biggest problems were in central and eastern Louisiana and western Mississippi.
Schools were delayed in the New Orleans area and other parts of southeastern Louisiana. Multiple school systems in Alabama and Mississippi canceled or delayed classes because of the weather threat.
Classes were cancelled in Mississippi's Natchez-Adams School District after storms damaged homes and tore down trees.
AP writer Jack Jones contributed from Columbia, South Carolina.
Posted on Thu, November 1, 2018
by By JAY REEVES, Associated Press