PALMETTO, La. – At least two deaths and multiple injuries have been reported in Louisiana following severe weather Friday night and Saturday morning.
One person was killed and seven injured after at least one tornado touched down in St. Landry Parish. Separately, in Shreveport, a 48-year-old man was killed when a tree fell on his mobile home amid strong winds, said Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator.
The same storm system caused significant damage 400 miles to the east in Bay County, Florida, where an image showed the remains of a Panama City Beach convenience store with its roof and walls largely gone and aisles of merchandise intact.
As of Saturday afternoon, more than 50,000 people were without power across Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, according to PowerOutage.us.
The tornado hit St. Landry Parish at about 2:15 a.m. Saturday as severe weather rolled across the state, according to a release from parish Director of Emergency Preparedness Van Reed.
The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado was either an EF2 or EF3 with 130 mph winds. Investigators are still determining whether it was the same tornado or an additional tornado that hit a second location at about 2:30 a.m.
Eight homes were destroyed and two were damaged. Of the seven people injured, five have been released from the hospital while two remain hospitalized.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this storm,” St. Landry Parish President Jessie Bellard said in a statement. “We’re doing everything we can to help those families.”
Bellard, who was aiding investigators at the scene, said the damage is significant.
“It’s really unbelievable. You really have to see it to understand what happened out here. Several homes have been moved off their foundations and others have had their roofs pulled off. One house was moved and placed completely onto the road,” Bellard said.
According to Bellard, the person who died in St. Landry Parishwas possibly thrown from his residence.
Bellard said the tornado is presumed to have touched down at two different areas in the northern portion of St. Landry Parish.
Moses Celestine, 90, who was in his home when the storm hit, called it “frightening and scary.”
“All at once I heard the house shaking and moving and it felt like it lasted 20 minutes,” he said.
According to the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, severe storms could develop overnight across the Florida Panhandle but are expected to be far less intense.
Contributing: Joel Shannon, USA TODAY. Follow Ashley White on Twitter @AshleyyDi.
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