South Begins Cleanup After Tornado Damage

Storms across the South kill at least 3 people
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 15, 2022 5:15 PM CST
South Begins Cleanup After Tornado Damage
A greenhouse sits on a fence in the backyard of Randy Popiel's home after a possible tornado in Grapevine, Texas, hit Tuesday.   (Elias Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Communities from Texas to Florida commenced assisting survivors and cleaning up Thursday after tornadoes left scattered destruction and at least three people dead across the South. To the north, blizzards continued to pound the Midwest as more ice and snow headed toward New England. Three straight days of volatile weather in the South continued Thursday as a possible tornado wrecked a building housing a cotton gin in rural Georgia and forecasters issued a stream of tornado warnings across the Florida peninsula, the AP reports.

The same storm front had spawned twisters as it marched from central Texas across Louisiana, where all three storm deaths were confirmed, before destroying farm buildings in Mississippi and tearing roofs off other buildings in Alabama. In Union Parish, Louisiana, near the Arkansas line, volunteers stocked a gymnasium with donated clothing and other supplies for dozens whose homes were badly damaged or destroyed. "It shows that people love you," said Patsy Andrews, who survived the storm hunkered in a bath tub with her three children. "It shows that people care."

Andrews teared up as she recounted how winds blew open her front door early Wednesday in the Union County community of Farmerville as tornado alerts sounded. Windows started breaking with a popping noise like gunfire, she said, as the family crawled into the bathroom. "The only thing we know to do was just crying, we was screaming, just calling on Jesus," Andrews said. She added: "We all grabbed each other, we jumped in the tub. All we could do was just pray. It was very devastating." A few others caught in the storm's path weren't so fortunate.

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A man who was out buying groceries Tuesday when a suspected tornado struck rural Keithville, Lousiana, returned to find his mobile home swept away and his wife and 8-year-old son missing. Hours later, authorities discovered the body of Nikolus Little in the woods. His mother, Yoshiko A. Smith, was found dead later, under storm debris. "He just went to go shopping for his family, came home and the house was gone," Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Sgt. Casey Jones said. A third death was confirmed west of New Orleans in St. Charles Parish, where Sheriff Greg Champagne said eight people went to hospitals with injuries Wednesday and a woman was found dead outside a home. "There was debris everywhere. She could have been struck. We don't know for sure," Champagne said. "But this was a horrific and a very violent tornado."

(More tornadoes stories.)

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