The Latest: Storms move through hurricane-ravaged area

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on storms moving across the Deep South (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

Storms moving along the Gulf Coast provided a scare to people living in parts of the Florida Panhandle hit by Hurricane Michael less than a month ago.

Disaster centers helping with the recovery from Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle temporarily closed because of the threat, and authorities worried that winds gusting up to 60 mph (97 kph) could topple trees or limbs that were weakened by the Category 4 hurricane. Hundreds of homes still have flimsy tarps across their roofs for protection from the weather.

No serious problems were reported Thursday, and Lynn Have Mayor Margo Anderson says she feels blessed. She says the possibility of more severe weather was frightening to people still suffering from Michael.

Officials plan to reopen the disaster centers on Friday for people to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, other government offices and private organizations.


2:25 p.m.

Louisiana residents are surveying damage done by an overnight storm that felled trees and damaged homes and schools in many parts of the state.

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says in a news release they’ve received preliminary damage reports from eight parishes.

In Tangipahoa Parish, four people had to be rescued when four mobile homes were destroyed by falling trees.

About ten homes in the Covington area were damaged including windows knocked out and roofs and fences damaged.

Two schools in Beauregard Parish were closed due to damage and a home was also damaged.

About 30 percent of the roads in East Feliciana Parish were closed due to downed trees and debris. A 30-inch-wide oak tree fell on a bridge and damaged guardrails.


12:15 p.m.

Texas authorities say a 23-year-old sheriff’s deputy who died after her patrol vehicle overturned in floodwaters was only on her third night of patrolling alone.

The Waller County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Thursday on Facebook that Loren Vasquez was responding to a water rescue when her vehicle became airborne after driving into water covering the rural roadway.

Her vehicle landed upside in a water-filled ditch Wednesday evening and responding deputies were unable to reach her in time as water rushed inside.

It wasn’t clear how her vehicle went airborne after entering the water.

She joined the sheriff’s office in May and had recently completed its field training program.

Vasquez was responding to the rescue call after heavy rain and strong winds had swept through the greater Houston area.


11:15 a.m.

A Texas sheriff’s deputy has died after floodwaters filled her patrol vehicle that had veered off a road and overturned in the Houston area.

It’s not clear what caused the Waller County deputy’s vehicle to leave the road Wednesday. Another deputy and bystanders tried to pull her to safety but were unable to reach her before water rushed into the vehicle.

The deputy, who has not been identified, was declared dead at a hospital.

Sheriff Glenn Smith said in a Facebook post that “Words will never express” what his office is going through.

Storms Wednesday evening brought heavy rain and strong winds and prompted tornado warnings in the greater Houston area. The line caused damage as it moved eastward into Louisiana.


8:10 a.m.

A college student has died in a wreck that the Mississippi Highway Patrol said was the result of a line of storms moving across the Deep South.

Kervin Stewart with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety said in an email that the wreck happened around 3 a.m. Thursday about 2 miles (3 kilometers) north of Port Gibson in Claiborne County.

Stewart said a car hit a tree that had fallen across a highway. The driver and rear passenger escaped injury. But Stewart says the front seat passenger, 19-year-oold Jayla A. Gray of Jackson, died from her injuries. She was a student at Alcorn State University in Lorman.

Stewart says investigators think weather was a factor in the crash.

Two people were sent to a hospital in Louisiana after a possible tornado flipped a mobile home.


5:15 a.m.

A line of storms is moving across the Deep South, bringing threats of tornados and delaying schools in Louisiana.

The National Weather Service reported Thursday morning that storms stretched from southern Louisiana across Mississippi and into western Alabama.

Tornado warnings were posted in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, based on radar indications. There were no immediate reports of tornado touchdowns early Thursday.

A tornado watch was in effect for southeastern Louisiana and most of Mississippi until 7 a.m. CDT.

Schools in New Orleans and other parts of southeastern Louisiana were delaying the start of classes because of the storms.

The storm system could bring strong winds and heavy rains across the area. The Storm Prediction Center says the risk of severe weather Thursday extends into south Alabama and southwestern Georgia.

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