100 million people at risk as deadly storms and tornadoes march east


John Moore, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Jackson, says a twister was reported Saturday in the Vicksburg area of MS and was indicated on radar.

The National Weather Service of Fort Worth went on to rate the tornado an EF-3, with 140 miles per hour winds. Some people had to be extricated from damaged dwellings. Nineteen residents were taken to hospitals, including two in critical condition.

Storms that killed at least two people in Texas and one in Louisiana crossed the Mississippi/Alabama state line early Sunday, moving the risk of life-threatening winds, strong tornadoes and large hail to a large section of the United States. In nearby Cherokee County, winds of up to 60 mph damaged two homes in the town of Alto, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of Houston.

In Hamilton, Mississippi, 72-year-old Robert Scott said he had been sleeping in his recliner late Saturday when he was awakened and found himself in his yard after a tornado ripped most of his home off its foundation.

Forecasters in central Texas reported a possible twister Saturday in Robertson County, near Hearne and Franklin.

In addition to the potential for tornado development, the strong line of storms will also produce damaging winds and heavy rain, capable of producing flash floods, particularly in Arkansas and parts of MS and Alabama.

No injuries have been reported near the campus.

The storm damaged a roof of a hotel in New Albany, Mississippi, and Mississippi State University's 21,000 students huddled in basements and hallways as a tornado neared the campus in Starkville.

A third child, Sebastian Omar Martinez, 13, drowned late on Saturday when he fell into a drainage ditch fill with flash floodwaters near Monroe, Louisiana, said Deputy Glenn Springfield of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office. Separately, one person died when a auto was submerged in floodwaters in Calhoun, also near Monroe.

According to the Post, an employee for Jefferson County in Alabama was also killed around 2:15 a.m. after "being struck by a vehicle while he was helping clear away trees toppled by the storm".

There were reports of multiple injuries, the NWS said, and KBTX-TV reported widespread damage.

He said the threat for severe weather is greatest at such times but that the risk remained even after warm temperatures dropped.