LOUISIANA – A powerful EF-1 tornado tore through Louisiana Sunday morning and ripped a mobile home from its foundation, claiming the lives of a 3-year-old girl and her mother.
Francine Gotch, 38, and her daughter, Neville Alexander, were asleep inside the trailer when the storm hit the Breaux Bridge community, 50 miles west of Baton Rouge, according to the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Alexander’s father ran to the store before the storm hit and returned around 9:30 a.m. Sunday to find his wife and daughter had perished, witnesses told KLFY-TV.
Another child in the house was able to escape and ran to his grandmother’s house nearby. Authorities claim the tornado “hit the trailer, flipped it, and tore its side off.”
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Louisiana’s Gov. John Bel Edwards reportedly put the entire state on “high alert” due to “an extremely dangerous weather event.” He advised residents to remain at home until the storm subsided and to keep their cellphones charged and on-the-ready to receive urgent weather alerts through Monday.
The National Weather Service reported that the tornado reached peak wind speeds of about 110 mph, touched the ground, and traveled nearly a mile through Breaux Bridge. The massive storm was one of ten that swept across the nation over the weekend, hitting Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi, with some areas getting up to ten inches of rain.
Another city greatly impacted by dangerously high winds was Alexandria, La., which left thousands without power and many businesses damaged.
The southeast region of the country continues to brace for storms, as National Weather Service meteorologist John Hart has indicated a significant risk of weather for Mississippi and Alabama as the system moves east.
Fire officials in Point Venture, Texas, also reported that several residents witnessed a funnel cloud on Sunday morning which left a few structures with severe damage. Additionally, a Texas state trooper suspected that a tornado touched down early Sunday morning near Center Point, Texas, though no reports of major or structural damage have been reported.
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