Two deaths reported in Southern storms

New Mount Bethel Baptist Church in Kenner, La. suffered weather damage Tuesday. AP Photo

NEW ORLEANS – The Latest on severe storms expected to move across the South:

8:45 p.m.

Mississippi officials have identified a man killed when a mobile home was struck by an apparent tornado.

Lamar County Coroner Cody Creel said that 73-year-old Dale Purvis died of blunt-force trauma. The injuries came about 4 p.m. Tuesday, as the area southwest of Hattiesburg was under a tornado warning.

Vann Byrd of the Lamar County Emergency Management Agency says the storm damaged at least a handful of buildings.

David Cox, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pearl, Mississippi, says forecasters spotted debris on the ground which is a typical hallmark of a tornado. Storm damage was also reported at a second location in the county that appeared to be caused by the severe storm system.

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9:45 p.m. EST

In northwest Alabama, the National Weather Service said radar showed a tornado touched down briefly in Marion County near Hackleburg, which was devastated by a killer tornado nearly five years ago.

State troopers said officers were reporting fallen trees and a few structures with roof damage in the area. No injuries were reported.

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7:25 p.m.

The meteorologist in charge for the National Weather Service’s southeast Louisiana office says at least seven tornadoes have hit southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi.

Ken Graham says that number includes the one that slammed into a trailer park in Convent, Louisiana, Tuesday and one that killed a person near Purvis, Mississippi.

Graham said teams will be sent out in the morning to document the damage and rate the tornadoes.

Severe weather has been moving through southern Louisiana and Mississippi. At least three people have been killed – two in Louisiana and one in Mississippi.

Graham said a lightning strike hit the building where the weather service is located in Slidell, knocking out their radar systems and forcing them to go to backup systems.

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7:10 p.m.

A Louisiana sheriff says a second person is confirmed dead after a tornado ripped through an RV park.

St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin says at least two people were killed when the twister hit the park in Convent.

He said authorities are using dogs to search piles of rubble left in the wake of the storm to find anyone else still missing under the debris.

Martin said at least 30 people were wounded. Of those, seven are in critical condition.

The tornado was part of a line of severe weather that has been moving through southern Louisiana, wreaking havoc across the region.

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6:20 p.m.

The sheriff of a southern Louisiana parish where a tornado is believed to have touched down says at least one person is dead at an RV park.

Sheriff Willy Martin, speaking on local television, says there was one fatality and possibly may be another victim at the recreational vehicle park in Convent. Martin says authorities are still looking for people believed to be trapped under the debris.

He said he could not give an accurate number of people injured but that he saw at least 25 people with injuries – some who were able to walk out while others were more severe.

The reported tornado is part of a line of severe weather and storms that has ripped through Louisiana.

PHOTOS: South hit by storms 

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5:55 p.m.

Authorities say at least one person has died after a possible tornado touched down in Mississippi.

Vann Byrd of the Lamar County Emergency Management Agency says the death occurred Tuesday in a mobile home west of Purvis. Byrd didn’t release the person’s name.

Byrd says officials are still sorting through reports of damage to some buildings.

David Cox, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pearl, Mississippi, says forecasters spotted debris on the ground on Tuesday afternoon that is a typical hallmark of a tornado. Storm damage was also reported at a second location in the county that appeared to be caused by the severe storm system.

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5:40 p.m.

The owner of an RV park in Convent, Louisiana, says he believes a tornado tore through that area and that several people are injured and numerous recreational vehicles are destroyed.

Mark Anderson, in a telephone interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, said trees are toppled over and only about six to eight trailers at the Sugar Hill RV Park are left standing. Local news and television footage showed dozens of other trailers lay crumpled, flipped on their sides or pushed into or on top of other mobile homes.

Authorities say there are reports of people possibly trapped in some of the trailers or under debris. The St. James Parish sheriff didn’t immediately respond to a request for information.

Richard Zuschlag (ZOOSH-lahg), chairman and CEO of Acadian Ambulance Service Inc., says ambulances have taken eight people to hospitals from houses in Convent, but fallen trees have kept them from reaching the damaged trailer park.

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6:15 p.m.

More than a dozen public school systems in south Georgia are closing as forecasters predict severe storms could threaten the region overnight.

Schools in Valdosta and surrounding Lowndes County will be closed Wednesday, as well as 12 other school systems in rural south Georgia counties. Officials say schools in some other districts plan late openings Wednesday.

The National Weather Service says south Georgia faces a threat of violent storms and possible isolated tornadoes from Tuesday night united Wednesday morning.

The same storm system caused early school closures Tuesday in districts in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

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5:10 p.m.

An emergency management official in west Alabama says a storm has knocked down trees and damaged at least one home near the rural town of Reform.

Ken Gibson, emergency management director in Pickens County, says no one was injured in the storm Tuesday.

The National Weather Service tweeted that radar showed an apparent twister in the area around the time the damage was reported, but Gibson says he isn’t sure what had happened.

“I don’t know if it was a small tornado, straight-line winds or a microburst,” he said.

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4:25 p.m.

Storm shelters have opened in the so-called Pine Belt area of Mississippi.

Shelters opened Tuesday afternoon in Forrest, Lamar and Jones counties for those needing as severe thunderstorms approach. Forecasters say straight-line wind damage, large hail and possible tornadoes and flash flooding are all threats as part of the storm system.

WDAM-TV reports the Forrest County Community Shelter, a 10,000-square-foot facility, is among those being opened. Lamar County’s emergency management director, James Smith, says those headed to its county shelter in Purvis should bring their own food and water.

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4:10 p.m.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has issued a state of emergency because of severe weather approaching his state.

The declaration released Tuesday means schools won’t have to make up any days lost because of the storms. It also directs emergency management officials to offer any assistance needed because of severe weather.

Bentley’s action came after the National Weather Service placed southwest Alabama under a tornado watch. Storms moving toward the state already have caused damage near New Orleans, where a possible tornado touched down.

A flash flood watch covered central Alabama, where forecasters said as much as 2 inches of rain was possible. The weather service issued an advisory saying winds up to 40 mph were possible in the Tennessee Valley region of north Alabama.

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3:05 p.m.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has issued a state of emergency for all areas of his state that may be affected by the approach of severe weather.

A severe storm system with potential for strong tornadoes, damaging winds, hail and heavy rain, is expected to cross Mississippi through Tuesday night.

Bryant’s office says the state of emergency is an administrative tool that allows local governments to request state assistance to help with response and recovery associated with any storm recovery.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said it was monitoring developments and would provide updates as information becomes available.

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2 p.m.

Emergency officials and the National Weather Service say a suspected tornado spotted near Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport apparently touched down in a field near a suburban neighborhood.

It was part of a line of severe weather passing through Southeast Louisiana. It is believed to be one of many wind storms and possible tornadoes that erupted Tuesday around the greater New Orleans area, including possible sightings north of Lake Pontchartrain and west of that city in St. Charles Parish.

There were no reports of any injuries, but wind damage to homes and businesses has been reported, according to officials in Jefferson Parish where the airport is located. There were reports of cars damaged at a parking lot near the airport.

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2:25 p.m.

Dozens of Alabama schools are closing early and calling off evening activities because of the threat of tornadoes and other severe weather.

Public schools in Alabama’s coastal Mobile County were sending more than 60,000 students home early Tuesday to avoid having buses and other vehicles on the road around the time severe storms were expected in the area.

Forecasters said the threat of powerful storms was greatest in south Alabama, but schools were dismissing early as far north as central Alabama around Birmingham. State athletics officials canceled two state high school championship basketball games in the Montgomery area.

Forecasters said about half of Alabama had a moderate risk of severe weather including tornadoes.

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1:05 p.m.

The powerful storm system is expected to bring heavy rain, winds and possibly some snow to parts of Arkansas.

The National Weather Service in Little Rock says southeast Arkansas could get 3 inches or more of rain, while the Ozark and Ouachita Mountain areas could see 1 to 3 inches of snow on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

A high wind watch is in effect for central and northeast Arkansas from 6 p.m. Tuesday until Wednesday afternoon.

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12:45 a.m.

National Weather Service forecasters are urging people in the central area of North Carolina to brace for possible severe weather later in the week.

Forecasters say straight-line wind gusts are possible Wednesday and could cause damage.

The weather service also says that with the system bringing severe weather expected to move across central North Carolina during school hours on Wednesday, schools and universities should take time to review their severe weather safety plans and review their tornado sheltering procedures.

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10:30 a.m.

A line of thunderstorms has moved into western Louisiana, bringing rain and fog.

As the system moves east, forecasters say an area extending from Baton Rouge through the parishes north of Lake Pontchartrain is at moderate risk for a few strong thunderstorms, with the possibly of an isolated tornado, strong winds and heavy rain. All of southeast Louisiana remains under a tornado watch until 5 p.m. local time.

Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne is closing government offices in 15 parishes at noon before Tuesday’s severe weather arrives.

Schools in most of those parishes are also closed for the day.

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10 a.m.

Storms in South Texas have left thousands of people without power and windows broken after hail the size of golf balls damaged some buildings.

The Kinney County Sheriff’s Office says nobody was hurt in Monday night’s bad weather.

Dispatcher Ana Amescua (AH’-nuh uh-MES’-kwah) says hail the size of golf balls and larger broke windows throughout Brackettville – including at the town’s schools. Administrators canceled classes Tuesday in Brackettville, 30 miles east of Del Rio.

AEP Texas reported about 10,000 customers in Del Rio without electricity after a substation was damaged. Classes were canceled Tuesday at the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District due to no power.

A Houston ISD bus flipped Tuesday while driving on a rain-slick road, leaving the driver slightly hurt. No children were aboard.

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10 a.m.

A powerful storm system is expected to bring heavy rain, powerful winds and some snow to parts of Arkansas on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The National Weather Service in Little Rock described the storm system as a “three-headed monster” on its Facebook page. Southeast Arkansas is expected to see 3 inches or more of rain, while the Ozark and Ouachita Mountain areas could see 1 to 3 inches of snow on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

A high wind watch is in effect for central and northeast Arkansas from 6 p.m. Tuesday until Wednesday afternoon. Forecasters say winds could gust as high as 40 mph to 50 mph on Tuesday night.

Forecasters say the wind watch covers the Interstate 40 and U.S. 67 corridors, which will make driving difficult.

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8:30 a.m.

Some Alabama school systems are planning to dismiss students early and cancel after-school events in anticipation of severe storms striking the state, along with other parts of the Deep South.

The Tuscaloosa County School System said in a statement that school officials decided to cancel all after-school activities Tuesday after a briefing from emergency management officials and the National Weather Service in Birmingham.

Mobile County Public Schools announced it will also cancel all after-school activities Tuesday and said officials there will decide by late Tuesday morning whether to dismiss students early.

Troy City Schools said in a statement that students would be dismissed early, at 1 p.m. Tuesday, and all after-school activities would be canceled due to the weather threat.

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7:35 a.m.

A Houston school bus has flipped onto its side along a highway while driving in rainstorms.

Houston Independent School District spokeswoman Lila (LEE’-luh) Hollin says the bus driver suffered minor injuries during the accident around dawn Tuesday along Highway 288. Hollin says no students were on board during the accident she says may be related to weather.

The school bus ended up on its side atop an embankment.

Some school districts in South Texas canceled classes Tuesday amid the storms moving across Texas and into the Deep South. The San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District in Del Rio called off school due to power outages.

School was canceled at the Brackett ISD in Bracketville, about 30 miles east of Del Rio, which reported some damage to buildings and vehicles.

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6:40 a.m.

Forecasters have issued flash flood watches in Alabama and Georgia ahead of a storm system that’s expected to drop 1 to 2 inches of rain, with higher amounts possible in some areas.

The warnings, which cover large parts of both states, are expected to be in effect through Wednesday afternoon.

The National Weather Service says new rain on already saturated soil could cause roads to flood, as well as low-lying areas and small streams.

The weather service projects that some of the heaviest rain will fall in metro Atlanta and in parts of the north Georgia mountains, where up to 3 inches is expected.

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6:15 a.m.

A line of thunderstorms moving across Texas was expected to bring severe weather to the Deep South on Tuesday.

The storms caused some wind damage in south Texas, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

The weather service estimates that more than 7 million people in parts of five states – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia – are in an area of moderate risk for a few strong tornadoes and other severe weather Tuesday.

As the storms move into southeast Louisiana on Tuesday afternoon, forecasters say the severe weather will occur from the Baton Rouge area east across the parishes north of Lake Pontchartrain.

Schools across south Louisiana and Mississippi canceled classes ahead of the storm.

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5:55 a.m.

Schools across Louisiana are cancelling classes ahead of a severe storm that’s expected to move across the Deep South.

The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1QcTHUX ) reports that West Baton Rouge Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, Zachary, Central, East/West Feliciana, St. Helena, Pointe Coupee, Iberville, Livingston, Ascension, Tangipahoa, St. James and Baker public schools and Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic schools have canceled classes Tuesday.

LSU and Southern University also announced classes will be canceled starting Tuesday at noon.

In the greater New Orleans area St. Tammany and Washington parishes are closed.

The forecast calls for an increased risk for severe weather across most of Louisiana with some areas in Washington, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes facing a greater risk.

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