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The Latest: Central Texas storm confirmed as a tornado

The Latest: Central Texas storm confirmed as a tornado Photo: AP

April 25, 2019 06:51 PM

RUSTON, La. (AP) — The Latest on a tornado that tore through Louisiana early Thursday(all times local):

6:30 p.m.

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Damaging winds that destroyed a Central Texas warehouse have now been confirmed as a tornado.

The National Weather Service has classified the tornado that smashed the warehouse just outside Bryan, Texas, Wednesday afternoon as an EF2 twister with winds estimated at up to 120 mph (193 kph), a strong storm capable of doing significant damage. A National Weather Service survey team is in San Augustine in East Texas to determine if damaging winds there were a tornado.

The weather service says a supercell thunderstorm roared from San Augustine to the northeast, spawning the tornado that caused severe damage in Ruston, Louisiana, and killed two people.

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4:30 p.m.

Louisiana's governor has declared a state of emergency after severe weather hit the northern part of the state and killed two people.

Gov. John Bel Edwards toured the region Thursday and met with officials in Ruston, where an EF3 tornado touched down a little after midnight.

Two people — a mother and her son — were killed by a tree that fell on their home.

During a news conference Thursday, the governor identified the victims as 35-year-old Kendra Butler and 14-year-old Remington Butler, who was a high school freshman.

The governor said some places were still not accessible due to downed power lines and debris.

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11 a.m.

The mayor of a northern Louisiana town hit by a tornado says trees uprooted by the winds "cut houses in half."

Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker says he took a helicopter flight over the town of about 24,000 people Thursday morning and says the damage he saw to houses is "unbelievable."

The tornado was part of a severe weather system that pounded Texas with rain Wednesday, killing a woman and two children caught in flash flood waters.

In Lincoln Parish, a mother and son were killed by a tree that fell on their home.

Walker says immediately after the tornado swept through about ¾ of the town was without power. It's being restored now.

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10:10 a.m.

A mother and son in northern Louisiana were killed by a tree that fell on their home during a tornado that tore through the area.

Mike Steele is communications director for Louisiana's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and said those were currently the only two known deaths in Louisiana from the storm. But he said rescue workers were still combing through the area. He could not give their names or ages.

National Weather Service hydrologist C. S. Ross says it appears the tornado cut a track over 130 miles (209 kilometers) from eastern Texas to the Louisiana-Arkansas border.

The city of Ruston sustained some of the worst damage and Louisiana Tech University there was forced to cancel classes Thursday.

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8:30 a.m.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says two people have been killed by a tornado that tore through the northern city of Ruston early Thursday.

The tornado caused severe damage to buildings, vehicles and power lines and forced a local university to cancel classes.

National Weather Service hydrologist C. S. Ross says it appears the tornado cut a track over 130 miles (209 kilometers) from eastern Texas to the Louisiana-Arkansas border.

Louisiana Tech University President Les Guice said on Twitter that classes were canceled Thursday. The university said no students were reported injured.

The tornado was part of a severe weather system that pounded Texas with rain Wednesday, killing a woman and two children caught in flash flood waters.

The storm moved into Mississippi on Thursday morning.

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Credits

(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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