Thunderstorms that tore up homes and buildings across the South hit North Carolina early Thursday, killing at least three people and leaving thousands without power. Another person died Wednesday as a tornado swept through part of Louisiana.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol reported two people were killed Thursday when high winds destroyed a house in Columbus County, in the southeastern part of the state.
“It appears to be from tornado damage,” said Patty McQuillan, a Highway Patrol spokeswoman.
The Charlotte Observer also reported that one person died in a traffic accident in the region blamed on the storm. Additional details were not immediately available.
Several states have been battered by the storms which began Wednesday, unleashing tornadoes and straight-line winds that overturned mobile homes and tractor-trailers, uprooted trees and knocked down power lines. At least one person in Louisiana was killed and several injured in other states.
At least one tornado cut a path about two miles wide and three or four miles long in Greensburg, La., north of New Orleans, toppling trees and damaging buildings and power lines, said Maj. Michael Martin of the St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office. A 43-year-old man was killed when the trailer he was in was destroyed, he said.
“That home just exploded,” said Gordon Burgess, president of neighboring Tangipahoa Parish.
In Montgomery, Ala., high winds destroyed a skating rink Wednesday soon after 31 preschoolers and four adults fled to the only part of the building that turned out to be safe.
One child suffered a broken bone and another a cut to the head, but everyone else emerged unharmed from the crumpled wreck of the Fun Zone Skate Center, which doubled as a day-care facility.
In Mississippi’s Lamar County, emergency operations center director James Smith said a possible tornado struck a subdivision outside Sumrall around 2:50 a.m., damaging or destroying 11 homes.
Smith said six people were taken to hospitals from the Sumrall area, and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said two other people were injured in Greene County.
In North Carolina on Thursday, high winds injured two people, one critically, in Iredell County, The Charlotte Observer reported. Fallen trees blocked roads in Lincoln County, the newspaper reported.
Another possible tornado struck about midnight in eastern Gaston County, where a steeple was destroyed and part of the roof ripped off a church. Duke Energy reported nearly 3,000 customers without power in Gaston County, about 1,200 outages in Iredell County, and nearly 900 outages in Lincoln County.
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