1 dead in Mississippi as tornadoes, flash flooding and large hail wreak havoc across Southern U.S.

The New Orleans metro area was under a flash flood emergency on Wednesday.

A man holds a street sign outside a damaged building in the aftermath of a tornado in Slidell, La., on Wednesday.
A man holds a street sign outside a damaged building in the aftermath of a tornado in Slidell, La., on Wednesday. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

One person was reported dead in Mississippi on Wednesday as more than 30 million people across central Gulf Coast states like Louisiana and Alabama — and stretching further into the Southeastern U.S. — were under severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. Widespread severe weather has dumped heavy rain, as well as caused storm damage, rescues and an evacuation in the region.

Police in Slidell, La., part of the New Orleans metro area, warned residents of the dangers of venturing out, as police work to rescue people who were stuck in their vehicles and their homes.

⛈️ What's the path of the storm?

On Monday, the storm started barreling down on Texas, before moving east to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists are warning that the powerful storm system will cause flash flooding and “widespread damaging winds” reaching up to almost 80 mph in the Southeast, multiple tornadoes and large hail through Thursday.

As of Wednesday morning, about 300,000 people across Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana were without power, according to PowerOutage.us.

By Thursday, the storm is predicted to shift to the Southeast overall, including Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida, Fox Weather reported.


The aftermath of a tornado in Slidell, La., on Wednesday.
The aftermath of a tornado in Slidell, La., on Wednesday. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

On Tuesday, over 100,000 Louisiana residents were under several tornado watches spanning from the northeastern to the southeastern part of the state. The NWS had issued a tornado warning for Jackson, St. Francisville and Wilson until Wednesday morning.

Residents were warned to brace for wind gusts up to 70 mph, with possible Ping-Pong-size hail wreaking havoc on those parts of the state.

Law enforcement and local authorities advised Louisianans to stay off the road and to watch out for potentially “deadly” flying debris for people not sheltered in place.

“We have water that’s rising right now. We’re trying to get high-water vehicles to these areas to rescue people,” Slidell spokesperson Daniel Seuzeneau said in a Facebook video. “Trees are down everywhere; power lines are down everywhere. It’s bad.”

At least 11 school districts, as well as businesses and all state government buildings, have closed Wednesday. Classes for Louisiana State University and Southeastern Louisiana University have been moved online.

The severe weather threat is predicted to back off from the state by Wednesday evening, Fox Weather reported.


Over 4 million people in South Texas were under a severe thunderstorm watch early Wednesday morning, the NWS reported. Several tornadoes were forecast as likely to touch down.

Areas, specifically in southeastern Texas, have taken a significant brunt of the storm since Monday. Texans have experienced rainfall up to 12 inches, with 3 more inches expected Wednesday, according to CNN.

A flash flood emergency has also been issued in the southeastern Texas cities of Kirbyville and Newton, near the border of Louisiana.

Rescue crews responded to “10 to 15 high-water rescues” in Kirbyville early Wednesday. Major roads there have also been shut down due to flooding.

“The City of Kirbyville remains under water and is still the major concern at this time,” the Jasper County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook.

Wind gusts reached up to 88 mph in Briscoe and 78 mph in Knox City, both in the northern parts of the state.

Baseball- and tennis-ball-size hail has been reported in other parts of Texas, such as in Austin.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday directed the state’s Division of Emergency Management to deploy additional emergency response resources to support the affected communities.

“Texans in at-risk areas are encouraged to remain weather-aware, heed the guidance of state and local officials, and make an emergency plan to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Abbott warned residents in a statement.


(National Weather Service)
(National Weather Service)

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency confirmed that one person has died and one was injured by the state's severe weather.

A tornado watch was in effect for central and southern Mississippi until 1 p.m. CT on Wednesday, the NWS reported.

The NWS also confirmed that at least one tornado had already torn through Raymond, Miss., about 20 miles west of Jackson, overnight.

A flood watch has also been issued through Wednesday evening in Jackson and surrounding cities. Some places have seen a total of over 8 inches of rain. The heavy rainfall could also cause “extensive street flooding” and nearby bodies of water to overflow.

North of Jackson, in Yazoo County, the sheriff’s office pleaded for residents to evacuate from a subdivision.

"The levee is about to break on the lake and the houses will flood," the sheriff's office said. "Please get out ASAP!!!"

Mississippi residents were also supplied with more than 100,000 sandbags to protect their homes and properties.


A tornado watch has been issued for over 1.5 million residents in the southwestern part of Alabama until 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday, according to the NWS. A few tornadoes are likely to spread through the area.

Alabamans can also expect Ping-Pong-size hail and gusty winds up to 80 mph.

Meteorologists are also warning residents in central Alabama that flash flooding caused by “excessive rainfall” is possible and could swell bodies of water. A flood watch remains in effect until Thursday morning for that part of the state.