The storms killed one person in Mississippi’s Walthall County, two in Lawrence County and three in Jefferson Davis County, Emergency Management Agency director Greg Michel said.
National Weather Service officials said strong winds were sweeping through other parts of Mississippi and a tornado appeared near the Alabama state line.
The weather service reported multiple tornadoes and damaging winds over parts of Louisiana. Utility companies reported thousands of power outages. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries.
Flights were canceled at Monroe Regional Airport, where the storm ripped the siding off buildings and scattered debris on runways. Airport director Ron Phillips told the News-Star that the storm triggered up to $30 million in damage to planes inside a hangar. Meanwhile, dozens of homes in the DeSoto and Webster parishes were reported damaged.
At least two tornadoes were confirmed earlier in Texas. In Morgan County, Ala., lighting damaged a church roof and steeple, Morgan County Emergency Management Agency Eddie Hicks told AL.com. Lightning also struck Shoals Creek Baptist Church in Priceville around 12:45 p.m. No injuries were reported.
“This could be a very difficult day weather-wise,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said in a live Facebook presentation. “Please be weather-aware. Pay attention. I know that these storms that are coming through can be dangerous. We can see significant winds. We can also see significant tornadoes coming through Mississippi today.”
Weather trackers also said the greatest risk for strong storms covered much of Mississippi, Alabama and western Georgia, while much of the rest of the South was under at least a “marginal” risk.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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