North Texas was walloped with at least eight tornadoes Tuesday evening as a powerful storm system swept through the region.
The National Weather Service said Wednesday it had confirmed eight tornadoes and expected that number to rise “near or above 12.”
Of the confirmed tornadoes, four touched down in Tarrant County, one in Wise County, one in Cooke County, and another west of Paris, Texas. Some of the tornadoes had winds exceeding 100 mph.
The National Weather Service said all the tornadoes came from the parent storm.
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A report from FOX 4 says there were multiple homes destroyed and multiple injuries. The extent of the total damage remains unknown at this time.
In the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, a tornado left miles of damage, destroying dozens of homes and businesses. At lease five people were injured.
A photo shared by police showed a badly damaged 18-wheeler in a Sam’s Club parking lot.
A photo shared by a Twitter user showed a collapsed roof from within the Sam’s Club.
The tornadoes come as part of a volatile storm ripping across the South, killing an 8-year-old boy and his mother in Louisiana, smashing mobile homes and chicken houses in Mississippi and threatening neighboring Southern states with more punishing weather Wednesday.
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The Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office said the body of 8-year-old Nikolus Little was found around 11 p.m. Tuesday in a wooded area. His mother, Yoshiko A. Smith, 30, was found dead under storm debris around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.
To the north, the huge storm system delivered blizzard-like conditions to the Great Plains and was expected to push more snow and ice into Appalachia and New England. The wintery blast dumped more than 2 feet of snow in parts of South Dakota.
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The forecast Wednesday called for more severe storms with additional tornadoes expected across an area of the Gulf Coast region populated by nearly 3 million people from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama. More damaging weather was possible in the Florida panhandle.
A steady stream of tornado warnings were issued Wednesday across portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
In Union Parish, on Louisiana’s northern border with Arkansas, Farmerville Mayor John Crow said a Tuesday night tornado badly damaged an apartment complex where 50 families lived and wiped out a neighboring trailer park with about 10 homes.
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Shannon Futch, Union Parish’s emergency director, said there were reports of numerous people treated for cuts and bruises and at least two people hospitalized after a twister cut a swath of damage about 5 miles long, toppling trees onto about a dozen houses.
“Some people even stayed the night in their houses that had big pine trees on them,” Futch said. “They didn’t have anywhere to go.”
A suspected tornado reported in New Iberia in southwest Louisiana damaged several buildings on the campus of New Iberia Medical Center, hospital officials said, and left five people with minor injuries.
In neighboring Mississippi, suspected tornado destroyed four large chicken houses — one of which held 5,000 roosters — in Rankin County, Mississippi, Sheriff Bryan Bailey said. Mobile homes at a park in Sharkey County, Mississppi, were reduced to piles of shredded debris. Resident Leslie Jackson told WLBT-TV her home was one of only a couple left standing.
Icy weather from the huge storm was expected to affect the U.S. from coast to coast. It began by dumping heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada and was predicted to bring ice and snow to the eastern U.S. in the coming days.
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Forecasters expect the storm system to hobble the upper Midwest with ice, rain and snow for days, as well as move into the Northeast and central Appalachians. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch from Wednesday night through Friday afternoon, depending on the timing of the storm. Residents from West Virginia to Vermont were told to watch for a possible significant mix of snow, ice and sleet.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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