New Orleans – Heavy storms hit the southern United States on Sunday, leaving at least six dead in Mississippi and damage to 300 residences and other buildings in northern Louisiana.
One person died in Walthall County, two others in Lawrence County and three more in Jefferson Davis County, said director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Greg Michel. All three prefectures are more than an hour’s drive south of Jackson, near the Louisiana border.
Mississippi had strong gusts of wind in other parts of the state, the National Weather Service noted, and a tornado was sighted north of Meridian, near the Alabama border.
Before the storms hit Mississippi, the weather service reported several dangerous tornadoes and winds in much of northern Louisiana. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries. Utility companies reported thousands of power outages.
Monroe, Louisiana Mayor Jamie Mayo told KNOE-TV that a storm damaged 200 or 300 homes in and around the city.
Flights were canceled at the Monroe Regional Airport, where some of the buildings suffered damage to the facades and debris was on the runways. Airport director Ron Phillips told the News-Star newspaper that the storm caused $ 30 million in damage to aircraft inside a hangar.
In northwest Louisiana, authorities reported damage to dozens of homes in DeSoto and Webster Townships, according to local media.
The highest storm risk for Easter Sunday included much of Mississippi, Alabama and western Georgia, the weather service warned. That area was designated “moderate risk”, while the rest of the southern region was placed under “marginal” threat, he added.
A larger area, from east Texas to the east coast, was at “marginal” risk of storms, the weather service reported.
In Morgan County, Alabama, the roof of a church was damaged by lightning on Sunday afternoon, the director of the county Emergency Management Agency, Eddie Hicks, told the AL.com news site. No injuries were reported.
Strong winds were recorded that caused damage to buildings and knocked down trees in Walker County, Alabama, north of Birmingham, WBMA-TV reported.