Since the early hours of Tuesday morning, 53 tornadoes have been reported in seven states, including three confirmed tornadoes that killed three people in Louisiana.
Reports came in from Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. So far, a total of 20 people have been confirmed, including one in Oklahoma, one in Mississippi, four in Louisiana, and 14 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas..
Typically, reports are made by citizens or law enforcement who spot tornadoes or areas of damage. The National Weather Service then dispatches teams to investigate damage and assign a wind speed if it is determined that a tornado has landed.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards investigated the storm damage in Iberia Parish on Thursday, in which 13 people were injured and hospitalized. Only one person needed inpatient care. He said at a press conference that there were no reports of death.
“It’s been a very tough few days for our state,” Edwards said, noting that hurricanes “spread all over the state.”
Three people were killed in the state. Allison Alexander, 8-year-old Nikolos Little, and her mother, Yoshiko Smith, found dead outside her home in Charles Parish. The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office said the mother and son died when a tornado destroyed their home in Keithville. Nikolos was found dead in some forests, and his mother’s body was found hours later under a pile of rubble.
Edwards said the news of his death was “extremely tragic”.
Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell said 55 structures, 21 of which were deemed uninhabitable, were damaged during the storms.
“Our focus right now is ensuring our residents have exactly what they need for the cleanup process,” he said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
In Oklahoma and Texas, the National Weather Service continued to assess the damage Thursday. A family’s home was destroyed in Wayne, about 80 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, NBC Montana reported.
Justina Reaves told the news station that her sister and her family lived in the house and were hiding in the basement.
“They were in the basement and then he said on the phone, ‘I think our house is being hit,'” Reaves said. “I said, ‘Hold on, it’s not over yet,’ then he yelled, ‘Our house was hit,’ and then the phone hung up.”
Reaves said her husband helped get them out of the basement. The family was not injured.
A Sam’s Club and Grapevine Mills Mall in Texas were damaged Tuesday after severe thunderstorms hit Grapevine, about 40 miles from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. NBC Dallas Fort-Worth reported that five people were injured.