Following an outbreak of severe weather from Texas to Mississippi on Saturday and Saturday night, violent storms are spreading eastward as the weekend comes to a close. A ‘large and dangerous’ tornado caused significant damage to Franklin, Texas, injuring dozens, uprooting trees and flipping trailers. Two tornadoes hit near Alto, Texas, within 90 minutes of each other. At least three deaths – 2 children and a man – have been attributed to the storms.

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Deadly storms engulf US South: Aftermath of Franklin tornado in Texas on April 13, 2019.

Texas

Powerful storms moved through the South Saturday, killing at least three people and spawning several tornadoes, including several “large and dangerous” twisters that left significant damage and caused dozens of injuries in East Texas.

A powerful thunderstorm slammed areas north of San Antonio with hail slightly larger than baseballs in diameter on Saturday morning.

Large hail of similar sizes also pounded areas north of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

The Angelina County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that two children, aged 3 and 8, were killed Saturday after a tree fell on the vehicle they were in during a severe storm. The children’s parents were able to exit the vehicle safely, the station added.

Meanwhile, a long-track tornado began Saturday morning south of Calvert, in Robertson County, before hitting the town of Franklin, located about two hours east of Waco.

Preliminary survey shows it was an EF-3 tornado with winds of 140 mph.

There have been reports of injuries, down trees, flipped trailers and damaged homes. There have also been reports of collapsed buildings downtown.

Robertson County Sheriff Gerald Yezak told The Weather Channel there were numerous injuries, including many “walking wounded.” He said others were taken to the emergency rooms but he couldn’t say how many. He noted there were no reports of fatalities.

The tornado also damaged the Franklin Safari Park along Highway 79, but no animals escaped.

Several other tornadoes were confirmed in Texas Saturday, including two near the town of Alta from two different storms.

Jeremy Jackson, chief of police in Alto, said 25 people were transported from the Caddo Mounds area, where a field day event — the Caddo Culture Day — was underway when the storm hit. Jackson said the area took “a direct hit.”

On Friday, the historic site said a hike on Saturday was be canceled because of the forecasted severe weather but said the other events would go on “rain or shine.”

A fire department representative estimated the number of injured could be as many as 40. The official added that four or five people were critically injured, KTRE reported.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office told KYTX there was at least one fatality in Houston County from the tornado, but no other details were provided.

Jackson said dozens of home were destroyed and people became trapped by the storms. “I’ve seen brick homes flattened,” said Jackson. “I’ve seen homes moved across county roads.

One of the two twisters caused a school gymnasium to collapse on one end. Damage to homes and a high school was also reported in Lufkin, Texas.

Air travel was significantly impacted at the Dallas airports. More than 500 flights were canceled Saturday at Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport. Another 300 were delayed, according to Flight Aware. Flights headed to Dallas Love Field Airport were not allowed to depart before 1 p.m. CDT Saturday.

More than 50,000 customers were without power as a result of the storms in Texas by Sunday morning, according to poweroutage.us. Over 30,000 people were still without power as of Sunday at 5:00 a.m. EDT.

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Power outage after severe storms rip through US South.

Louisiana

In Louisiana, an image taken Saturday morning in Stonewall shows what could be another tornado.

Damage, including downed large trees, was also reported near Blanchard, Louisiana.

By 5:00 a.m. EDT Sunday, more that 20,000 customers were still without power in Louisiana.

Mississippi

A confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado was reported 8 miles northwest of Caledonia, Mississippi, moving north at 35 mph. The National Weather Service was calling this a life-threatening situation and urging people to seek shelter.

The break of dawn is shedding new light on the devastation in Hamilton, Mississippi, where a deadly tornado ripped through on Saturday night. 

Multiple people were injured and multiple homes damaged, according to Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley.

At least one mobile home was destroyed, throwing a man from the structure. Meanwhile, there are reports of fatalities.

At Mississippi State University 21,000 students sheltered in basements and hallways. Debris and downed trees were spotted on campus but no injuries were reported.

And across the deep south

The outbreak of severe weather will continue into Sunday morning across the Deep South. All facets of severe weather are anticipated this weekend, ranging from damaging wind gusts and large hail to frequent lightning strikes, flash flooding and tornadoes.

Meanwhile, the tornado danger continues farther east with a new tornado watch issued for much of northern and central Georgia, including the Atlanta metro area.

Officials with the Masters Golf Tournament said Saturday it was changing its schedule on Sunday as the storms move eastward. Players will be grouped in threes and will start play early, with half beginning on the first tee and the other half beginning their round on the 10th tee.

The National Weather Service reports that a confirmed tornado is located 8 miles east of Tishomingo State Park, Alabama moving north at 45 mph:

A new tornado watch has been issued for portions of southern Tennessee and eastern and central Alabama until 9:00 a.m. CDT Sunday.

Emergency managers report that a possible tornado occurred in Hagler, Alabama. Trees and power lines were downed near the Hagler Volunteer Fire Department.

In addition to the continued risk of tornadoes and damaging winds across Alabama early this morning, flash flooding will also be a threat as the storms unleash a significant amount of rainfall. Parking lots are beginning to take on high water at the University of South Alabama’s campus.

US Weather Chaos!

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[The Weather Channel, AccuWeather]

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