A storm that brought rain, hail, high winds and reports of tornadoes to the Southeast U.S. this morning continues to batter the area, leveling several homes and buildings and leaving one person dead and dozens injured.
Twisters were reported in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Tornado watches and warnings were still in effect in the Carolinas, Alabama, Florida and Georgia, where an unidentified person was killed when a tree fell on an SUV.
In Mississippi, the storm damaged 35 homes and approximately 10 commercial structures. Five homes and a few buildings were reportedly destroyed, and 15 people were hurt.
Crews in Houma, La., removed debris today from a shed that blew into Village East Elementary’s playground and broke a school window after a possible tornado touched down in the early morning hours.
“I was sleeping and I heard this big crash,” resident Dianne Pierce said. She told WGNO-TV that the storm had destroyed everything inside of it, including her grandson’s vintage car. “His ’68 Camaro that was beautiful — it’s all got a toolbox on top of it and the windows all busted out.”
She said that after the storm woke her up, her grandson called her.
“He said, ‘Mama, our patio’s gone,’ and I said, ‘What do you mean ‘It’s gone’?'” Pierce said. “He said, ‘Something just lifted it over the house.’”
In Kentwood, La., Stephanie Blauvelt hunkered down in a shower stall inside her boyfriend’s family home around 2:45 a.m. as a tornado approached. The two-story home where the family had lived for 20 years was moved off its base and destroyed.
“It was like ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” she told WGNO-TV. “I felt like I was on a roller coaster in the shower. I felt myself get lifted.”
– The Associated Press and ABC News affiliate WGNO-TV contributed to this story.