Storms sweep south, killing six and injuring dozens



Strong storms swept the south Sunday after the outbreak of alleged tornadoes and floods that killed at least six people – including three children – injured dozens of people and razed much of a Texas town.

Nearly 90,000 customers were without power in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Georgia on Sunday afternoon, according to www.poweroutage.us, while the weather had left behind devastating traces.

Two children were killed in an alleyway in East Texas when a pine tree fell on the car in which they stood Saturday, near Pollok, about 241 km southeast of Dallas.

The "tree" has flattened the car like a pancake, "said Captain Alton Lenderman of the Angelina County Sheriff's Office. The children, aged 8 and 3, were dead at the scene, but both parents, who were sitting in front, escaped injury, he said.

At least 25 people have been taken to hospitals for treatment after a tornado struck the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in eastern Texas, at a time when they Amerindian cultural event in Alto, about 209 km southeast of Dallas, said police chief Jeremy Jackson. At least eight were seriously injured.

The damage was widespread in Alto, a city of about 1,200 inhabitants, and the school district canceled classes until its buildings could be inspected to ensure their safety.

A tornado destroyed much of south Franklin in central Texas, overturning mobile homes and damaging other homes, said Robertson County Sheriff Gerald Yezak. Franklin is about 200 km south of Dallas.

The meteorological service said preliminary information showed that an EF-3 tornado had been shot down with winds of 140 mph (225.3 km / h).

The tornado destroyed 55 houses, a church, four businesses, a duplex and part of the building of the local housing authority, authorities said. Two people were hospitalized for life-threatening injuries, while others were treated on the spot, Yezak said. Some people had to be removed from their damaged homes.

Heavy rains and storms swept the Mississippi into Saturday night as storms moved east.

A 95-year-old man died after the fall of a tree on his trailer in northeastern Mississippi, said Monroe County Road Director Sonny Clay at a conference of press, adding that a tornado had struck. Nineteen residents were taken to hospitals, two of them in critical condition. A tornado was reported in the area 225 km southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, at the time.

National Meteorological Service meteorologist John Moore said a possible tornado would have landed in the Vicksburg, Mississippi area. No injuries were reported, but officials said several companies and vehicles were damaged.

The storm damaged the roof of a hotel in New Albany, Mississippi, and the 21,000 students of the Mississippi State University, huddled in basements and hallways, while that a tornado was preparing near the campus of the school in Starkville.

The university spokesman, Sid Salter, said that debris, possibly washed away by the tornado, had been found on campus, but that no injuries had been reported nor any building damaged. Trees were knocked down and minor damage was reported in residential areas east of the campus.

The large storm system also triggered flash floods in Louisiana, where two deaths were reported.

According to authorities, 13-year-old Sebastian Omar Martinez drowned in a drainage canal after a sudden flood that hit Bawcomville, near Monroe, said Glenn Springfield MP of the Sheriff's Department of Ouachita Parish .

Separately, one person died when a car was submerged by floodwaters in Calhoun, also near Monroe.

As the storm moved into Alabama, a possible tornado cut off power and damaged mobile homes in Troy, about 80 km south of Montgomery.

A county employee died after being hit by a vehicle while he was helping to clear the trees around 2:15 am Sunday near Hueytown (a suburb of Birmingham), said Captain David Agee of the county sheriff's office from Jefferson. The man, whose name was not disclosed, died after being taken to a hospital.

Prediction of extreme weather conditions forced Masters of Augusta, Georgia, to begin Sunday's final round of the tournament to finish in the middle of the afternoon.


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