April 14 (UPI) — At least five people died over the weekend as powerful thunderstorms that spawned tornadoes made their way toward the Atlantic Coast.
A Mississippi man, identified as 95-year-old Roy Ratliff died on Saturday when a tornado caused a tree to fall onto his home, Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley said.
In Texas, authorities said a woman died on Saturday night when a tornado destroyed her mobile home, CNN reported. Four other people were injured after the trailer was struck.
Two children, aged 3 and 8, died earlier Saturday when a falling tree struck their car in East Texas and a 13-year-old boy drowned in a drainage area in West Monroe, La., Saturday afternoon.
Multiple injuries were also reported in the town of Franklin, Texas where a large preliminary EF-3 tornado with winds of 140 mph moved through the town on Saturday.
Trees were pulled from the ground by their roots and the tornado caused structural damage to buildings including tearing off roofs.
As of early Sunday, all of Franklin and its neighboring city of Bremond were without electricity. Power outages were wide spread throughout the path of the storm, with 35,824 without power in Texas, 16,160 in Louisiana, 24,029 in Missouri, 27,877 in Mississippi, 10,543 in Alabama and 12,170 in Georgia, according to PowerOutage.US.
The storms produced additional tornadoes throughout Louisiana and Mississippi on Saturday night as the storm moved east threatening the upper Ohio Valley and central Appalachians to the upper Gulf Coast on Sunday, before moving to the mid-Atlantic.
“The storms will take on more of a squall line set up with the greatest threats being from damaging wind gusts, flash flooding and lightning strikes,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
At least one tornado was reported in southeast Alabama early Sunday, as CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said as many as 90 million people could be threatened by the storms.
Residents in parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia Georgia and Florida were encouraged to monitor weather bulletins throughout Sunday and to secure loose outdoor items.
As a result of the storm organizers for the Masters golf tournament at Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club moved up tee times Sunday.