Deadly Tornadoes Strike Coast, Killing Toddler And Others

Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms attacked the residents of multiple areas from the Gulf Coast to the Mid-Atlantic Tuesday, continuing on through Wednesday evening. While the death toll remains at 7, including a 2-year-old toddler, dozens are reported injured and over 200,000 hit by the tornadoes and thunderstorms remain without power. Residents from the Gulf Coast all the way to the Northeast are left displaced following damage to homes and apartment structures.

On Tuesday, in an unusual string of weather, the Weather Channel confirmed nearly 30 tornadoes struck the Southeast and Gulf Coast — killing two in a Louisiana trailer park, one in Mississippi and leaving several others injured.

In the town of LaPlace, one of Louisiana’s 10 tornadoes touched down, destroying 200 homes, but leaving the town’s 32,000 residents relatively unharmed. Although only a few injuries have been reported at this time, the town is left in ruins, with downed trees and power lines, overturned vehicles, and debris-filled highways. One resident described the damage to her home as “worse than Hurricane Katrina” in an interview with a local news station, WWL, while others compared the aftermath to the more recent Hurricane Isaac. Residents of LaPlace are under a temporary curfew, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., as they struggle to begin the clean-up process.

Meteorologists at the Weather Channel have also confirmed the tornado swarm was responsible for extensive damage in Pensacola, Florida, late Tuesday. With the twisters primarily hitting apartment structures in residential areas, residents reported being frightened by the sudden slam. Governor Rick Scott, who was slated to tour the area on Wednesday, will assess the damage to the city. This surprise weather comes after an EF-3 tornado pummeled the Florida town, Century, just one week ago. The small town of 1,000 was nearly leveled by the storm’s 20-minute cycle of destruction as it traveled from Escambia County, Florida, to Alabama.

The coastal storms and tornadoes continued on Wednesday, extending to the Carolinas, Virginia, and other states bordering the Atlantic. Arriving abruptly and out of season for many, the extreme weather resumed its path, killing a family of three in Waverly, Virginia. Two men, 50- and 26-years-old, were confirmed dead by police, along with a 2-year-old boy. Their bodies found 300 feet from their trailer. An elderly man was also found crushed by a tree in Darlington County, South Carolina. The 58-year old was attempting to remove debris from his property. In an interview with NBC News, recently elected Mayor Miriam Edwards of Waverly reported that the city sustained a significant amount of destruction, including five buildings. While police and health care officials scramble to aid tons of victims injured or displaced by the horrendous weather, officials are working to learn more about the tornadoes and determine the overall damage to the city.

News outlets have reported the possibility of even more extreme weather moving into Pennsylvania and other parts of the Northeast. High winds and storms, creating the possibility of tornadoes and flooding, are expected to impact the citizens of New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Forecasts also predict the area will be targeted by storms and extreme winter weather traveling northeast from the Midwest. There, Winter Storm Petros blasted through parts of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan with high winds and snow, leaving at least a foot of snow in Southern Illinois and blizzard forming conditions in Northern Indiana.

Travelers are warned to avoid areas affected by the radical weather, if possible. Besides the forecast reporting the possibility of more storms and tornadoes, the areas are plagued with wreckage from the recent disasters. Visibility in the Midwest is a factor to consider, as blizzard-like conditions are slated to remain through Thursday.

Severe storm and tornado warnings continue to be issued, calling for residents all the way from Florida to New York to remain cautious and aware of impending inclement weather. For more information about tornadoes and storm weather in your local area, please tune into your local broadcast.

[Photo by NOAA Photo Library/Getty Images]