Three dead as tornadoes rip through Louisiana and Mississippi
Several tornadoes have hit US states, killing at least three people and injuring more than 30 others as they destroyed homes and businesses and toppled a water tower.
St James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin Jr said at least two people were killed and many others injured when an apparent tornado struck the Sugar Hill RV Park in the Louisiana community of Convent, on the Mississippi River about 100km west of New Orleans.
One of the dead had been identified as 73-year-old Dale Purvis.
The Advocate newspaper, citing Martin, said the storm on Tuesday [US time] levelled most of the estimated 160 mobile homes in the park, but it was not clear how many residents were home or injured.
The National Weather Service reported one death near the Mississippi town of Henleyfield, where it said a mobile home was destroyed.
Acadian ambulance services in Louisiana said it had transported 28 people from the trailer park to area hospitals and another three patients from neighbouring Assumption Parish, further to the west, according to the agency's Twitter feed.
More severe weather was expected on Tuesday evening as the storm system moved eastward, forecasters said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Efferson said weather officials were tracking more than a dozen reports of tornados in New Orleans on Tuesday afternoon.
Residents reported damage to homes from tornadoes and golf ball-sized hail on the Mississippi Gulf Coast as the system barrelled across the southern United States, he said.
"It's still going, and this system is going to continue to have a threat for tornados as it moves east through the night into Mississippi and Alabama."
About 31,000 customers were without power in Louisiana, according to Energy Louisiana, the main electricity supplier in the area.
Deputy Robert Martin, of the Assumption Parish sheriff's office, said a tornado knocked down a water tower and damaged homes.
John Boudreaux, director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in Assumption Parish, said up to 20 homes were reported destroyed, and firefighters rescued residents with minor injuries from four homes.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryan declared a state of emergency for areas expected to be affected by the storm.
Schools and government offices cancelled classes or closed early in Louisiana and Mississippi as severe weather warnings lined up from Louisiana to Florida and Georgia.
The Weather Service said Alabama could see tornados and hail early on Wednesday.
Further south, the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado had hit Pensacola, Florida.
Meteorologist Steve Miller said the service had many reports of property damage and people injured in the storms.
Three buildings at an apartment complex were severely damaged and thousands in the region were without power, The Pensacola News Journal reported.
Meteorologist Adam Baker said storms were expected to hit southwestern Georgia by midnight and could reach Atlanta and central Georgia before the morning rush hour on Wednesday.