Almost two dozen homes have been damaged after a tornado struck northern Louisiana on Sunday as a barrage of harsh weather batters the south of the United States.
According to NBC News broadcaster, tornadoes have also battered some other southern states, including Texas and Louisiana, inflicting damage on buildings. The USA Today reports that over 60,000 people across Mississippi and Louisiana have been left without electricity.
The Mississippi Emergencies Management Agency said that at least six people have been killed in tornadoes in the southern state.
"One confirmed fatality in Walthall County ... Two confirmed deaths in Lawrence County from today’s severe weather ... Three confirmed fatalities in Jefferson Davis County," the agency wrote on Twitter, stressing that these are initial reports and updates will follow.
The city of Monroe (LA) first tweeted "reports of damage in multiple neighbourhoods" after the storm hit at noon on Sunday.
@CityofMonroe We have reports of wind (or tornado) damage in multiple locations in Monroe.— City of Monroe, LA (@CityofMonroe) April 12, 2020
Please cooperate with any emergency officials who may give instructions to you or your neighbors.
More details to come.
Please pray for all!
Images of wreckage which the town mayor described as "catastrophic" were later posted.
“By the grace of God, early reports show only a few minor injuries. Pray for our city! Many neighbors & friends suffered catastrophic damage. We are hurting; but not broken. Times like this remind us WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER! Together we we will rebuild.“ - Mayor Jamie Mayo pic.twitter.com/sByzavTiTg— City of Monroe, LA (@CityofMonroe) April 12, 2020
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a tornado emergency for Monroe and surrounding areas at 11:44 a.m. CDT as an approaching tornado was confirmed.
Tornado Emergency continues for Swartz LA, Fairbanks LA, Sicard LA until 12:15 PM CDT pic.twitter.com/Ve0NA8vsZY— NWS Tornado (@NWStornado) April 12, 2020
The NWS reported that 20 homes had been damaged and that numerous planes and hangers had been hit at the Monroe Regional Airport.
All flights into Monroe Regional were cancelled.
Video and images of the disaster have been uploaded to social media.
Saw tornado wrapped in rain right after crossed it crossed I-20 near Arcadia. Many trees down. pic.twitter.com/8BXg4kDLRn— Isaac Madera 🇩🇴🇺🇸 (@isaacmadera18) April 12, 2020
Some victims asked for prayers and support.
Mann wtf 💔💔💔 whole tornado done hit us ... pray for Monroe pic.twitter.com/i2hUmdjLBz— YNN_Fredo (@Guhhthatsfredo) April 12, 2020
Others posted images of a dark cloud over their neighbourhood.
The tornado that struck Monroe is part of a very large storm system passing over the south of the US. According to the NWS Storm Prediction Center, the thunderstorms will carry on into Sunday night.
Morning storms in Texas & the Northern Brazos Valley are continuing east this afternoon. Tornado Watch in place for Mississippi & parts of Lousiana.— Shel Winkley (@KBTXShel) April 12, 2020
Ongoing chance for big storms & severe weather across the south through the rest of the day & into the overnight hours pic.twitter.com/3S8y1mldQ5
Nearly 95 million people could be affected by the storm system, with 5.8 million in the path of the most menacing portion, in Louisiana and up into the Tennessee Valley region.