Devastating tornadoes spawned by a major winter storm that slammed the central United States have killed and destroyed at least three people in parts of the South — with hurricanes remaining a threat in some areas as rain, snow and frigid conditions approach the east coast on Thursday.
There have been at least 50 reports of tornadoes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Florida since Tuesday, CNN reported, and more than 15 million people were able to experience severe weather in parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas on Thursday. A Tornado watch issued for parts of Florida until 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Rankin County authorities and first responders can be seen in this photo provided to the media by Sheriff Bryan Bailey while examining the remains of a poultry farm in Pelahatchie, Miss. Spawning tornadoes and additional severe weather Wednesday, December 14, 2022. (Courtesy of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
The Louisiana Department of Health confirmed Wednesday evening that a 56-year-old woman in St. Charles Parish died after a tornado destroyed her home, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed storm-related deaths to 0 three. Earlier on Wednesday LDH confirmed the deaths of a 30-year-old woman and her 8-year-old son “who died from blunt force trauma after a tornado destroyed their home” in Caddo township.
“I take away how powerful and destructive tornadoes are,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told reporters Wednesday night after surveying the damage in Union Parish. “It’s almost like throwing the dice. If you live on one side of the street, it looks like absolutely nothing happened, and on the other side of the street you might have five or six houses in a row that are completely destroyed.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (C) speaks with Calcasieu Township President Kevin Guidry (L) and Dick Gremillion, Calcasieu Township Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, during their gathering in Lake Charles, Louisiana in August , USA, preparing for Tropical Storm Harvey 29, 2017. (Jonathan Bachmann/Reuters)
The governor that is Measurement of damage and meetings with officials in the communities of Iberia, St. Charles, Jefferson and St. Bernard said Thursday there had been significant damage in communities across the state, with 21 tornadoes reported in 24 hours. In Farmerville, a town in Union Parish, there was “significant damage” to a number of units in an apartment complex, and 12 to 15 homes had been damaged beyond the extent of their occupancy. And in Iberia Parish, a tornado caused extensive damage to a hospital.
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More than 50,000 accounts across Louisiana were without power as of Wednesday night.
But Edwards said that while he has declared a federal disaster, he doesn’t expect there will be a federal declaration.
“We probably won’t hit the monetary damage threshold required to trigger this and trigger federal funding,” Edwards said. “Nonetheless, my statement means that all state agencies will support all local governments to ensure we can respond to and recover from this disaster. We will make our agencies and resources available.”
Chelsi Bovie holds her niece’s dog, which she rescued from her home after a tornado ripped through the area in Killona, La., about 30 miles west of New Orleans, in St. James Parish, Wednesday, December 14, 2022 , was torn. (Gerald Herbert/ AP photo)
A destroyed home after a tornado swept along the Mississippi River south of New Orleans in Gretna, Louisiana, the United States, December 14, 2022. (Christina Botic/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
The destruction can be seen from a tornado that ripped through the area on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 in Killona, La., about 30 miles west of New Orleans in the parish of St. James. (Gerald Herbert/AP Photo)
Debris piles up after severe weather on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 in Keithville, La. (Jake Bleiberg/AP Photo)
A home is seen damaged after a confirmed tornado on Friscoville Avenue in Arabi, La., in St. Bernard Parish, Wednesday, December 14, 2022. (Matthew Hinton/AP Photo)
Anna Chiasson sweeps her neighbors’ porch Wednesday, December 14, 2022 that was damaged by a tornado in Gretna, La., in Jefferson Parish, neighboring New Orleans. (Matthew Hinton/AP Photo)
This photo taken on December 14, 2022 shows a greenhouse sitting over the fence after a tornado in Grapevine, Texas, United States. I (Jin Xin/Xinhua via ZUMA Press)
Vehicles and debris are scattered after a tornado that ripped through the area in Killona, La., about 30 miles west of New Orleans in St. James Parish on Wednesday, December 14, 2022. (Gerald Herbert/AP Photo)
Allyson Mitchell walks in the rain after arriving to help her niece whose home was destroyed by a tornado that ripped through the area in Killona, La., about 30 miles west of New Orleans, in St. James Parish, Wednesday December 14, raced. 2022. (Gerald Herbert/AP photo)