(Reuters) -A sprawling winter storm was expected to unleash ice, snow and strong winds across the U.S. Northeast on Thursday after spawning dozens of tornadoes that killed three people and left behind a trail of destruction in the South.
A woman was killed when a tornado destroyed her house west of New Orleans, while a mother and her son lost their lives when a twister ripped through a rural town in northwest Louisiana, state officials said.
The two tornadoes were among 33 twisters reported on Wednesday in Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Alabama, where they destroyed or damaged homes and businesses, downed power lines and left piles of debris in their wake.
In Gretna, Louisiana, a city of 17,000 people south of New Orleans, a twister ravaged at least 30 homes and businesses that will have to be demolished, officials said at a news conference on Thursday.
“We know of people that survived in a bathtub because they heeded the warning,” Mayor Belinda Cambre Constant said, noting that no lives were lost in Gretna. “It was surreal, but people here are resilient.”
Some 300 miles (480 kilometers) north, in Farmerville, Louisiana, a tornado truck an apartment complex and mobile home park, injuring about 20 people, a police spokesperson told CNN.
The relentless storm threatened parts of the East Coast – from western North Carolina up through Pennsylvania and into New England – with up to 12 inches (30 cm) of snow and winds of more than 35 miles (56 km) per hour, the National Weather Service said in its forecast.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 37,000 homes and businesses in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia and another 100,000 in the upper Midwest were without power, Poweroutage.us reported.
The storm was forecast to unleash freezing rains across the region, glazing roadways with ice and prompting transportation officials to urge motorists to stay off the roads.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Howard Goller)
Source: U.S News