April 10, 2021, 1:44 p.m. ET
April 10, 2021, 1:44 p.m. ET
Weather forecasters in Mobile, Ala., Received reports of hail the size of softballs in some areas when a storm system hit Florida.
Powerful storms rolled through the south early Saturday, killing one person in Louisiana and bringing hail the size of softballs to parts of Alabama, with severe weather expected later in the day, authorities said.
In Louisiana, St. Landry Parish President Jessie Bellard confirmed that one person was killed and at least seven others injured in the storms that swept the area around 2 a.m. local time. The conditions of the injured were not immediately known.
The video, recorded by television station WGNO, showed widespread damage in Palmetto, La., A village about 60 miles northwest of Baton Rouge. The winds were strong enough to pull a house tens of meters into a street, the station reported.
Mr Bellard said the crews were working on Saturday to clear debris and restore power to the area.
“My thoughts and prayers go with the families affected by this storm,” he said.
Shortly after midnight local time, the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, warning of the threat of “a few strong tornadoes,” hail and gusts of wind up to 80 miles per hour.
At 1:22 a.m., the weather service issued a tornado warning for parts of Louisiana, including Palmetto, after radars indicated that a tornado was most likely developing.
Andy Patrick, a meteorologist with the Lake Charles, La. Weather Service, said it was difficult to alert the public to severe weather when severe storms develop overnight while most people are asleep.
“It’s certainly challenging,” said Patrick, adding that a survey team would assess the damage at St. Landry Parish to see if a tornado has developed and how severe the storm is.
Storms pushed east to Orange Beach, Ala., Which was pelted by great hail. The Weather Services office in Mobile, Ala., Received reports of hail the size of baseballs and softballs in some areas.
Storms also occurred in the Florida Panhandle, and around 6 a.m. the weather service issued a tornado warning for Walton County, which is about 90 miles east of Pensacola, Florida.
Images shared online after the Florida storm showed significant damage, including a house reduced to rubble and a roof torn from a supermarket. The video also showed a possible gargoyle near Panama City Beach.
Around 30,000 customers in northwest Florida were without electricity after the storms, according to the energy supplier Gulf Power.
The weather service issued a tornado warning for southwest Calhoun County in the Florida Panhandle at around 9 a.m. local time. Radars indicated that storms were spinning, which could create a tornado, and that gusts of wind could cause significant damage.
“Flying debris is dangerous for those caught without protection,” said the weather service. “Don’t wait to see or hear the tornado.”