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Tornado strikes central Texas town; more twisters forecast in South

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April 13 (UPI) — A tornado caused major damage and injuries to small town in central Texas on Saturday as residents across the southern United States were bracing for significant twisters.

Through Sunday, a low-pressure system with heavy winds and possible tornadoes is forecast to move through Texas and then through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia.

On Saturday afternoon, widespread damage was reported in Franklin, which lies about 145 miles south of Dallas.

Tiffany Witherspoon with the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference there were “quite a bit of injuries, but no fatalities,”

Nine people sustained minor injuries, but only two people were treated.

The south side of the city sustained the most damage.

“We’ve lost about half of the South Side of Franklin,” Robertson County Judge Charles L. Ellison told reporters.. “It’s totally destroyed. People from Austin and San Antonio have come to help.”

Mobile home sustained damage, cars were overturned and power lines were down, KWTX-TV reported.

In Robertson County, 3,104 out of 3,476 customers were without power after the twister hit.

Hail as large as 3 inches in diameter was reported north of San Antonio on Saturday morning, Accuweather reported.

Angelina County, about 130 miles east of Robertson County, the sheriff’s office has confirmed two children ages 3 and 8 were killed after a tree fell on the vehicle they were in during a severe storm, KWTX reported. The mother and father were able to get out of the vehicle. Lufkin is in Angelina County.

One possible twister damaged a home and injured three people in Ratcliff, about 35 miles west of Angelina Coyunty, at midday Saturday, according to Accuweather.

The Storm Prediction Center, run by the National Weather Service, issued an advisory that storms are expected across portions of the south-central and southeast through Saturday night. The center said a region from east Texas to Mississippi is the most likely area for strong thunderstorms.

In specific advisories, a tornado watch was valid until 7 p.m. CDT for parts of northern and central Louisiana and eastern Texas.

A low-pressure system will gain strength as it pushes northward into the Ohio Valley on Sunday, reported. The system will draw warm, humid air northward from the Gulf of Mexico.

On Saturday evening, thunderstorms are expected to cross the Mississippi River and head to western Tennessee and Mississippi, reported. And damaging winds are likely by early Sunday in Tennessee, eastern Mississippi, southeastern Louisiana and western Alabama.

Then, severe weather is predicted from northeastern Alabama and northern Georgia into southern Ohio and eastward into western North Carolina and southwestern Virginia.

The weather service’s office in Birmingham, Ala., is warning church pastors that large rooms like sanctuaries and auditoriums aren’t safe during severe weather, USA Today reported.

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