Coroner identifies 4 Alabama storm victims

Emergency crews gather at the scene after a storm ripped through a mobile home killing several people in Rehobeth, Ala., Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. (Jay Hare/Dothan Eagle via AP)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on severe weather in the South (all times local):

11:55 a.m.

Authorities are identifying four people killed when an apparent tornado sent a large tree toppling on to a mobile home in southeast Alabama.

Houston County Coroner Robert Byrd says 53-year-old Michelle Lewis died along with her niece, 27-year-old Amanda Blair. He says both women lived in the trailer where they died near Rehobeth, Alabama.

Byrd identifies the other two victims as family friends, 51-year-old Terina Brookshire of Hartford, Alabama, and 53-year-old Carla Lambart, who was originally from Opp, Alabama.

Byrd says three other people survived, including Lawana Henrich. He says she was the mother of Amanda Blair and sister of Michelle Lewis.

The coroner says Lawana Henrich saw a weather alert on television and heard the roar of a storm, and then told the others to seek shelter. Byrd says four women who went into one bathroom were killed, while Henrich, her husband and another man were uninjured in another bathroom.


9:50 a.m.

Fire officials near Charleston, South Carolina, say lightning caused a house fire as a line of thunderstorms moved across the state.

Officials with the St. Johns Fire Department say they were called shortly after 3 a.m. Tuesday. No one was hurt in the fire. Two people in the home got out safely.

The fire was extinguished in about half an hour.

A severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for the Charleston area at the time.

At least five people have died as storms moved across the South.


8:20 a.m.

Forecasters are trying to determine whether a tornado caused four of five deaths as storms left a path of destruction across the Southeast.

National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Wool of Tallahassee, Florida, says teams are headed out Tuesday to assess apparent tornado damage at three sites in southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia.

Wool says authorities believe a tornado is responsible for damage that left four people dead in Rehobeth, Alabama. But Wool says the weather service won’t be able to say that for sure until experts visit the site.

Wool says teams also will look at possible tornado damage around the cities of Bainbridge and Albany in southwestern Georgia. Wool says the same twister may have caused damage in Alabama and Georgia.

A Florida man died in flooding in the Florida Panhandle.


7:45 a.m.

Storms moving across the South have claimed a fifth life, this one in the flooded Florida Panhandle.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that 70-year-old William Patrick Corley’s body was found Monday afternoon following flooding near the Shoal River in Mossy Head.

Authorities said Corley’s car was partially submerged and his body was floating face-down nearby.

The sheriff’s office said Corley’s death remained under investigation, but no foul play was suspected.

The sheriff’s office urged residents to monitor flood warnings and try to ensure that “loved ones in these areas are safe when leaving their homes.”

Four people were killed Monday evening in southern Alabama when a tree fell on their mobile home.


1:20 a.m.

Parts of the South are bracing for more rain Tuesday, a day after severe storms killed four people in Alabama.

A spokeswoman for the Dothan Houston County Emergency Management Agency says the four died Monday evening when a tree fell on their mobile home in Rehobeth, Alabama.

Parts of southwest Alabama and southern Mississippi have received more than 8 inches of rain since Saturday.

Marksville, Louisiana, Fire Chief Jerry Bordelon says the storm tossed a fireworks stand more than 30 yards through the air and also knocked over some 18-wheelers.

In Georgia, forecasters say parts of the state could see as much as 3 inches of total rainfall from the storm system moving across the region.

Tens of thousands of people in Louisiana and Mississippi lost power at the height of the storm, according to utilities.

10 p.m.

Emergency officials say four people were killed in southern Alabama when severe storms ripped through the area.

Kris Ware, a spokeswoman for the Dothan Houston County Emergency Management Agency, said four people were killed in Rehobeth and structures were damaged in the area.

Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement on social media that the sheriff confirmed the storm-related deaths to him.

The National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for Houston County on Monday evening.


5:30 p.m.

Severe weather is exiting Louisiana in time for the Sugar Bowl game Monday night between Auburn University and the University of Oklahoma, but thunderstorms and some tornadoes remain a threat in southern Alabama, southwest Georgia and northwest Florida. Those areas remain under a tornado watch until late Monday, as a storm system that began early Monday in Texas keeps pushing eastward.

The system knocked out power to more than 80,000 customers in Louisiana and Mississippi at the peak of the storm Monday. Trees were downed or buildings were reported damaged in 18 counties in Mississippi, 15 parishes in Louisiana and 15 counties in Texas. No injuries or deaths have been reported in Louisiana and Mississippi.

The National Weather Service hasn’t yet determined if any of the damage was caused by tornadoes, although multiple tornado warnings were issued.

4:45 p.m.

A storm system moving across the South has blown out skylights in a Wal-Mart in Marksville, Louisiana, sending water and glass cascading onto shoppers.

Marksville Fire Chief Jerry Bordelon says the Monday storm also picked up a fireworks stand in front of the store and mangled it, tossing it 30 or 40 yards.

Bordelon says no one was injured. People inside the store were evacuated and it was closed afterward.

A number of other buildings in Avoyelles (Uh-VOY’-uhls) Parish were damaged, including houses that trees fell through and a building that lost its roof.

The National Weather Service has yet to determine whether the wind damage was caused by a tornado.

The Marksville damage is just one example from a squall line that knocked out power to tens of thousands Monday, downing trees and damaging structures from Texas through Mississippi. Damage has been reported in 18 counties in Mississippi, 15 parishes in Louisiana and 15 counties in Texas.


12:45 p.m.

Severe weather was expected to bring a variety of threats to parts of the Deep South through the night.

Thousands of power outages were reported in the New Orleans area, where a tornado watch remained in effect early Monday afternoon.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says 6.9 million people in large parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and south Alabama are at the highest risk of storms Monday. The area includes several large cities such as New Orleans; Jackson, Mississippi; and Mobile, Alabama.

Forecasters say damaging winds, hail and flash flooding will be possible, and that a few tornadoes will also be possible.

Entergy Louisiana reported that more than 8,000 customers were without power in the Metairie area outside New Orleans.