Weather agency confirms deadly tornado in Louisiana

In this photo provided by the St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office, the remains of a trailer lie where a woman and her 3-year-old daughter were killed during a severe storm, in Breaux Bridge, La., Sunday, April 2, 2017. A tornado flipped the mobile home Sunday in Louisiana, killing the mother and her daughter as a storm system with hurricane-force winds crawled across the Deep South, damaging homes and businesses. (Maj. Ginny Higgins/St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The National Weather Service is confirming that a tornado hit the community of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, and flipped a mobile home, killing a woman and her 3-year-old daughter.

St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office Maj. Ginny Higgins says 38-year-old Francine Gotch and 3-year-old Nevaeh Alexander were inside the trailer when the storm caused it flipped over around 10:20 a.m. Sunday.

Witnesses told KLFY-TV that the father had gone to the grocery store before the storm occurred and came back to find the bodies.

The weather agency said Sunday that a tornado with peak winds of 110 mph (180 kph) traveled for nearly 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) on the ground and had a width of about 20 yards (18 meters). The agency classified the tornado as an EF1.

Louisiana’s governor is warning residents that the state should be on “high alert” for the storms and is urging people to stay off the roads.

The storm also damaged homes and buildings and knocked down power lines in Alexandria, Louisiana, which is about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Breaux Bridge.

The northern and central parts of the state are under a high-risk alert, which the governor says is an extremely rare classification. Those areas could get hail, flooding, high winds and possible tornadoes.

But the governor says the southern part of the state is also under a “moderate and enhanced” risk for severe weather as well, calling it a “state-wide weather event.”
A Texas state trooper has reported seeing a tornado touch down near Center Point, Texas, about 55 miles (89 kilometers) northwest of San Antonio, Texas.National Weather Service meteorologist Yvette Benavides with the Austin/San Antonio office says the trooper reported seeing the tornado touchdown about 8 a.m. Sunday. Benavides says there were no reports of major or structural damage from the unconfirmed tornado.
The weather service offices in Austin/San Antonio and Fort Worth had received reports of minor wind damage to trees, up to quarter-sized hail and minor flooding in south central Texas areas.
The storms will also pass through southern Arkansas and central and southern Mississippi.

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