At least three people have been killed and dozens injured after a series of tornadoes hit New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana.
State Governor John Bel Edwards said as many as 21 tornadoes touched down in different parts of the state Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving death and destruction in their wake. Thousands of people were left without electricity.
A fatal crash was reported in St Charles Parish, located about 20 miles north of New Orleans, the state’s largest city.
More than 300 miles north, a young boy and his mother were found dead after a tornado destroyed their home Tuesday in the northwestern Louisiana community of Pecan Farms, near Keithville.
Those victims were identified as Yoshiko Smith, 30, and her eight-year-old son, Nikolus Little, by Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator.
“It’s really a sad, sad situation,” Sheriff Prator told KSLA-TV. “And it’s one of the most unusual things I’ve ever seen.”
“Teams continue with side searches and clearing homes this morning after a devastating tornado tore through the Pecan Farms neighborhood of southern Caddo Parish,” wrote Caddo Parish Fire District Number Four on his Facebook page.
“Thank you to the Shreveport Volunteer Network, the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana State Police, the Desoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Shreveport Fire Department, and all the other agencies and citizens who have given us assisted without hesitation last night.”
Mr. Edwards visited the town of Farmerville, one of the places that suffered some of the worst damage, located 100 miles east of Shreveport. At least two people were being treated in hospital there.
“The latest information we have is that we had 21,000 tornadoes in Louisiana in the last 24 hours,” Edwards told reporters Wednesday night.
“Not all of them have produced significant damage. Not all have caused injuries or deaths. But too many of them did.
He added, “So with the three fatalities we have elsewhere, with the two people from this area remaining in the hospital, I ask everyone to lift them up in their prayers and their families.”
He said there has never been a good time for storms this powerful to hit, but that it was especially disheartening that it was happening at Christmas.
Reports say the tornadoes in Louisiana were part of a massive severe weather outbreak that moved east across the United States, creating storms in the southern states and blizzard-like conditions from the Midwest to the Northeast.
Earlier in the day, the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, Texas confirmed that five tornadoes touched down in the upstate part. Up to five people were injured in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine after a possible tornado hit there.