At least 12 dead as severe storms sweep southern US

BENTON, La. (AP/Gray) - A potent outbreak of severe weather has claimed lives in Louisiana, Alabama, Texas and Iowa after severe storms swept across parts of the Gulf Coast and Southeast U.S.

Officials say a police officer and a firefighter in Lubbock, Texas, have been killed Saturday and another is critically injured after being hit by a vehicle while working the scene of a traffic accident.

The officer and firefighter who died have been identified as 27-year-old Nicholas Reyna with the Lubbock Police Departement and 39-year-old fire Lt. and Paramedic Eric Hill, KCBD reported.

In Nacogdoches County, Texas, authorities said one person died when a tree fell on their home, KTRE reported. Another person in the home escaped with only minor injuries.

Two people in Louisville, Kentucky, were rescued by fire crews Saturday morning after a tree fell on their home, WAVE reported. The couple has been hospitalized. The extent of their injuries is unknown.

A couple in Kuykendahl, Texas, evacuated their home with their 10-month-old daughter when a neighbor’s tree crushed their roof late Friday, KTRK reported. The tree damaged their kitchen, causing a gas leak, which was later stemmed by emergency crews.

Dallas police said one person died Friday night when a car flipped into a creek west of downtown Dallas.

Three people are confirmed dead from a tornado near Carrollton in Pickens County, Ala., WBRC reported. The victims were identified as 51-year-old Tyrone Spain, 85-year-old Albert Barnett and his wife, 75-year-old Susan Barnett.

Damage and flooding is being reported throughout north and central Alabama.

Authorities in Louisiana say three people have died.

One man died when a tree fell on his house at about 1 a.m. Saturday, KSLA reported. His wife was not hurt even though she was with him at the time.

The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office said the bodies of a couple were found near their demolished trailer by firefighters early Saturday, KSLA reported.

Storm damage has also prompted closure of Interstate 20 in northwest Louisiana.

Tornadoes have destroyed homes in Arkansas and Missouri and also caused damage in Oklahoma amid severe storms.

A man drowned near Kiowa, Oklahoma, after he was swept away in floodwaters, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Saturday. Randall Hyatt, 58, of Wardville, was overwhelmed by rushing water while getting out of his stalled truck.

The storms also unleashed downpours that caused widespread flash flooding.

Firefighters rescued a woman Saturday morning after her car washed away near the James River east of Springfield, Mo., KYTV reported. Emergency personnel also performed other high-water rescues in the area.

The roof was torn off of Benton Middle School in Louisiana after deadly storms barrelled through the area.
The roof was torn off of Benton Middle School in Louisiana after deadly storms barrelled through the area. (Source: Jessica Moore KSLA/Twitter)

At least one death in eastern Iowa has been blamed on the powerful winter storm.

Television station KCCI reported that a westbound semitrailer on Interstate 80 crashed just after midnight Saturday in Cedar County, east of Iowa City.

The Iowa State Patrol says roads were completely covered in ice when the semitrailer left the road and overturned, killing a passenger in the truck.

The victim’s name was not immediately released.

Earlier Friday afternoon, a tornado destroyed two homes near Fair Play, Missouri. Tornado watches Friday night covered parts of eastern Texas, northwestern Louisiana, southern Missouri and much of Arkansas.

Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power from Texas to Ohio, sections of flooded highways were closed in Oklahoma and Arkansas and hundreds of flights were canceled at Chicago’s airports.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Gray Media Group, Inc., contributed to this report.