3 killed, others trapped in tornado-battered homes in Louisiana, blizzard in North; ice headed to Northeast

More than 30 million Americans across the nation's northern tier were under winter weather advisories or warnings Wednesday while tornadoes swept the South as a deadly winter storm continued its damaging march through the country, killing at least three.

A line of tornadoes and severe storms rolling through Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana,  Mississippi, Alabama and Florida was blamed for at least three deaths and dozens of injuries. Blizzard conditions forced closures of scores of interstates and other roads in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota and North Dakota.

"Powerful storm continues to bring heavy snow, blizzards, and difficult to impossible travel conditions in the north/south Plains and Great Lakes," the weather service said in an alert Wednesday. "In the South, severe storms with all hazards, including strong tornadoes, and heavy rain with flash flooding continues."

The storm won't end there, instead heading to the Northeast, where AccuWeather forecasts the most widespread snowfall across the region so far this season. A dangerous ice storm will unfold along with rain, wind and possibly flooding.

Travel conditions remain hazardous as heavy snow and freezing rain continues to slam the north and central Plains, the weather service said.

3 KILLED, others trapped in tornado-battered homes in Louisiana, blizzard in North; ice headed to Northeast

Tornadoes in Louisiana, Mississippi

In Louisiana, New Iberia police said Wednesday that a tornado had touched down, several homes were damaged and people were trapped.

"Rescue efforts are underway. We ask that all citizens please avoid the area," police Capt. Leland Lassiter said. "We do have power lines that are down and live across the roads and in yards."

Jefferson Parish, a large suburb west of New Orleans, also saw major damages to infrastructure.

“Several homes and businesses have suffered catastrophic damage,” the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Louisiana, the body of 8-year-old Nikolus Little was found hours after a tornado destroyed his Keithville home 10 miles south of Shreveport, the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s office said Wednesday. A few hours later, the body of his mother, Yoshiko Smith, 30, was found a block away under tornado debris. An adult male was hospitalized, the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.

Another person was killed in St. Charles Parish after a possible tornado swept through the Killona area, causing extensive damage and injuries to at least seven others, according to parish spokesperson Samantha de Castro. Parish President Matthew Jewel declared a state of emergency, noting downed power lines and blocked roads in the area.

In Farmerville, Louisiana, the Union Parish Sheriff's Office told KNOE-TV that about 25 people were injured, some critically, after a tornado leveled a neighborhood. Tiyia Stringfellow, her boyfriend and two young children were in her Farmerville apartment when the tornado struck.

“We were in the kitchen closet. All we heard was whistling, and my boyfriend got up to look outside of the window and he (saw) the tornado," she told CNN. "The whole house was shaking and I (saw) my roof cave in, and the house went dark."

There were more than 40,000 power outages across Louisiana as of Wednesday night. The majority of the outages were concentrated Jefferson Parish with over 21,000 customers without power, according to AccuWeather.

In Mississippi, a line of severe storms was generating tornadoes Wednesday, the National Weather Service office in Jackson warned.

"A confirmed, large and extremely dangerous tornado was located near Forest, moving northeast at 35 mph," the office said in one of many warning statements. "This is a particularly dangerous situation. Take cover now!"

Police in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, posted photos of flooded streets downtown, part of an area under a flash flood warning by the National Weather Service.

MASSIVE WINTER STORM ROCKS US: 7 injured in Texas tornadoes, storms; blizzard warnings issued in 6 states

Crews survey damage from a possible tornado in Grapevine, Texas, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022.
Crews survey damage from a possible tornado in Grapevine, Texas, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022.

Several injured as tornadoes rock Texas

In Texas, the weather service in Fort Worth said Wednesday that eight tornadoes were confirmed in the storms that struck Tuesday and about four more confirmations were likely. One of the tornadoes, rated an EF-2, tracked through Wise County Tuesday morning producing winds up to 125 mph, the office said.

In Grapevine, 20 miles northwest of Dallas, at least five people were injured, and a Sam's Club, a Walmart and the Grapevine Mills Mall were among businesses damaged,  police said. A least two people were reported injured in Decatur, about 70 miles northwest of Dallas, one when wind overturned a vehicle and another by flying debris.

"The risk for flash flooding and severe weather continues for the South Wednesday," weather service meteorologist Bryan Putnam said.

BE PREPARED: The key for how to survive a blizzard? Plan ahead

North pounded by heavy snow, ice for parts of Northeast

Putnam said the Northern High Plains, where the snow began Tuesday, could end up with up to 30 inches through Thursday. Strong, gusty northerly winds upwards of 45 to 55 mph will continue to produce blizzard conditions and have a "significant" impact on travel, he said. Expect long stretches of most roads, including  parts of the major interstates I-80, I-90, and I-94, to remain closed in the region, he added.

As the week comes to an end, winter will ramp up in the Northeast, with accumulating snow and freezing rain likely. The forecast calls for freezing rain totals up to a quarter of an inch in parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and  Pennsylvania.

The snow threat deepens farther north into New York, with 4 to 8 inches, locally higher at elevation in the mountains. The snowfall will continue and move farther north into New England by Friday, the weather service said.

Closer to the coast, rain mixed with freezing rain, sleet, and snow could make the morning commute along the I-95 corridor difficult Thursday morning, according to forecasters.

Contributing: Jeanine Santucci and Thao Nguyen, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Winter storm updates: Louisiana tornados kill 3 as twisters rake South